The Arizona legislature adjourned on Thursday April 29. The effective date of bills passed during this session, after being signed by the Governor, is July 29, 2010.
Bills that were passed and that affect family law practice include:
SB 1314: Makes changes to Title 25 sections 103, 324 and 408. It is now the stated public policy of Arizona that a child shall spend substantial time with each parent and that the parents shall make joint decisions about the child, absent evidence that these things are not in the best interests of the child; requires the award of attorneys’ fees in a 408 proceeding in certain circumstances. While the new “stated public policy” apparently creates a presumption that joint legal custody is in the best interests of children, it does not create a presumption of joint physical (i.e. 50-50 parenting time) custody. Read 1314 HERE
SB1189: changes to requirements for expert opinion testimony (expert testimony) in court now require specific findings before an expert can testify in a civil or criminal case. This could lead to the requirement for “Daubert” mini-hearings on an expert’s qualifications, before the case in chief. Read 1189 HERE
SB1309: the Parents’ Rights bill, enumerating parents’ rights with respect to their children. Read it HERE
Bills that didn’t pass:
SB1094 – would have imposed new sanctions for non-disclosed property or debts for which no provision is made in the final decree.
The “divorce waiting period” bill that would have tacked on an additional waiting period of 180 days to finalize a divorce did not pass.