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Pima County Rules of Practice
 
Family Law > Pima County Rules of Practice

Rule 8. Family Law Cases

(8.1) General Administration

(a) Family law cases are subject to the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure in addition to Pima County Local Rule 8. Pima County Local Rule 8 often makes reference to court approved forms. Those forms approved for use by the Superior Court in Pima County may be located on the Court's website www.sc.pima.gov, or may be located in the Self Service Center of the Law Library at the Superior Court, or at the Pima County Bar Association, and at the Arizona Supreme Court's website,www.supreme.state.az.

(b) Assignment of Presiding Judge and Judges of the Family Law Bench.

The Family Law Bench shall consist of one or more judicial officers assigned by the Presiding Judge. The Presiding Judge shall designate a Presiding Judge of the Family Law Bench and a sufficient number of judicial officers to properly carry out the responsibilities of the bench.

The Presiding Judge of the Family Law Bench shall, in addition to trial duties, exercise supervisory powers over the Family Law Bench and the Conciliation Court, through the Director of Conciliation Court, as required by statute, and by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.

(c) Family Law Calendar.

The family law calendar shall be kept by the Court Administrator under the direction of the Presiding Judge of the Family Law Divisions.

(d) Regulation of Family Law Divisions.

In all matters not provided for by local rules, the Family Law Divisions may regulate their practice in any manner not inconsistent with the local rules, subject to the approval of the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.

(e) Special Assignments of Cases by Presiding Judge.

The Presiding Judge of the Superior Court may, when the family law caseload permits, assign civil and criminal cases to the judicial officers of the Family Law Divisions.

(8.2) Setting Cases for Trial

(a) Motions to Set and Certificate of Readiness.

Parties desiring to have a family law case placed upon the active calendar and set for trial shall follow the procedure set forth in Rules 38.1(a)-(b), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. All cases in which no Motion to Set and Certificate of Readiness has been filed within 180 days after the commencement thereof shall be assigned to the inactive calendar pursuant to the provisions of Rule 38.1(d), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b) Trial Setting.

When a Motion to Set and Certificate of Readiness has been filed, the assigned trial division shall assign the case a specified trial date and shall promptly notify the parties. It is anticipated that cases will be set for trial within 60 to 120 days from receipt of the Motion to Set and Certificate of Readiness by the Court Administrator and trial division.

(c) Continuances.

No continuances shall be granted after a case has been set for trial or order to show cause hearing, except on written motion setting forth grounds recognized by statute or rule, or for good cause shown. A stipulation for continuance shall be regarded as a joint motion to continue and shall state the reasons for the requested continuance. Pleadings regarding continuances shall be filed with the Clerk of the Court and a copy shall be delivered to the Court Administrator and the assigned division prior to the trial or hearing. No trial or order to show cause hearing shall be vacated or continued except by order of the court.

(d) Informing Defaulted Party.

In all family law cases wherein a decree or judgment is entered by default or after failure to appear at the time of trial or hearing, except those cases resulting from default after service by publication, the party obtaining the decree or judgment shall certify, on the decree or judgment itself, that he or she will mail within 24 hours a copy of the decree or judgment to the last known address of the party in default or failing to appear. Failure to comply with this rule shall not affect the validity of the decree or judgment entered or the time to appeal, or relieve a party from any obligations set forth in the decree or judgment.

(8.3) General Rules Relating to Pleading and Practice

(a) Case Designation.

The plaintiff or petitioner shall designate in the caption of the complaint or original petition filed with the Court the nature of the action or proceeding, such as: Dissolution, Paternity/Maternity, Reciprocal, Foreign Domestic Relations Decree, Legal Separation, Annulment, Establishment of Custody, or Modification of Custody.

(b) Affidavit Regarding Minor Children.

In any petition for dissolution, legal separation, annulment, custody or change of custody, each party upon filing of the petition or response shall file an "Affidavit Regarding Minor Children" upon a form approved by the Court. An original plus one copy shall be filed and the Clerk of the Superior Court shall deliver the copies to the Director of the Conciliation Court each day.

(c) Prior Orders.

In all petitions for contempt, or for relief in reference to a prior order of the Court in a family law case, the petition shall set forth the prior order, or the pertinent portion of the prior order, and the date the order was entered. In the event the prior order is so voluminous as to make it impractical to include it in the petition verbatim and the order is contained in the official Court file of the case, the order may be incorporated into the petition by reference.

(d) Settlement Conference.

In all family law cases set for trial, the parties and their attorneys shall participate in a settlement conference. Such conference shall be scheduled by the trial division and the Court Administrator. At any time after disclosure statements are exchanged, a party may request a settlement conference in addition to the mandatory settlement conference described above to facilitate early resolution of the case.

(e) Disclosure Statements.   

Disclosure statements required by Rule 26.1, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, shall include a completed and executed, by the party, Inventory of Property and Financial Affidavit on forms approved by the court, completed and executed by the party.

(8.4) Affidavits Required; Pleading and Practice

(a) Financial Affidavits; Production of Documents.

(1) Forms of Financial Affidavits.

There shall be two forms of Financial Affidavits, a "Financial Affidavit; Child Support" and a "Financial Affidavit; Spousal Maintenance". Wherever the term Financial Affidavit is used in this Rule, it shall refer to the relevant court-approved Financial Affidavit. In any proceeding where the establishment or modification of child support or a request for an award of attorney's fees and/or expenses is in issue, but not spousal maintenance, the "Financial Affidavit: Child Support" shall be filed. In all other proceedings where the establishment or modification of spousal maintenance alone, or in combination with child support or a request for an award of attorney's fees and/or expenses is in issue, the "Financial Affidavit; Spousal Maintenance" shall be filed. No filing or appearance fee shall be charged for the filing of the opposing party's Financial Affidavit, unless otherwise provided by law.

(2) Duty to Document Change in Financial Circumstances in the Financial Affidavit.

In any proceeding for establishment or modification of child support or spousal maintenance, a request for an award of attorney's fees and/or expenses, or a proceeding for failure to pay any of the foregoing, a party may not present to the court by way of testimony any change in his or her financial circumstances between the date of the Financial Affidavit and the date of the hearing or trial, unless an amended Financial Affidavit setting forth the changes has been filed or good cause is shown.

(3) Documents to be Provided to the Other Party.

In any proceeding for establishment or modification of child support, spousal maintenance or attorney's fees and expenses, within the time provided by this Rule, each party shall provide to the other party copies of the following documents:

(i) That party's most recently filed federal and state income tax returns;

(ii) That party's four most recent consecutive wage statements from all employment;

(iii) That party's most recent W-2, 1099, and K-1 forms;

(iv) For establishment or modification of child support proceedings, employer provided statement of cost of health and dental insurance coverage for the parties' minor children.

The Order to Show Cause shall specifically direct both parties to comply with this Rule. The Order to Show Cause shall not require the production of any additional documents, but this does not preclude the applicant from requesting additional documents through discovery procedures.

(b) Time.

Wherever this Rule requires a party to provide documents or the relevant Financial Affidavit to the other party, it shall mean that a copy is to be provided to the other party no later than four (4) court days prior to the date set for hearing or two (2) court days after service of the Order to Show Cause, whichever is later.

(c) Order to Show Cause for Temporary Order.

Where a petition for an Order to Show Cause is being made for temporary spousal maintenance, child support, or a request for an award of attorney's fees and/or expenses, the applicant shall file the original petition and the relevant Financial Affidavit with the Clerk of the Superior Court. A copy of the petition and relevant Financial Affidavit shall be provided to the assigned division, if any, at the time of the request for issuance of the Order to Show Cause. A copy of each shall also be served upon the opposing party, along with a blank copy of the relevant Financial Affidavit and a copy of Rule 8.4. The opposing party shall respond by filing the relevant Financial Affidavit, a copy of which he or she shall provide to the assigned division, applicant's attorney, or, if unrepresented, to the applicant within the time provided by this rule.

(d) Petition for Modification of Maintenance or Support.

(1). Petition for Modification of Spousal Maintenance

A petition for modification of a prior order for spousal maintenance shall set forth verbatim in the body of the petition the order sought to be modified or comply with Rule 8.3(c). The applicant shall file the original of the petition and two relevant Financial Affidavits: Spousal Maintenance. The first Financial Affidavit shall demonstrate the current financial circumstances of the party seeking the modification. The second Financial Affidavit shall demonstrate the financial circumstances of the party seeking the modification as of the date of the order sought to be modified,unless a copy was previously filed in the court file,in which case such Financial Affidavit shall be attached to the petition for modification. A copy of the petition and the Financial Affidavits shall be provided to the assigned division at the time of the request for issuance of the Order to Show Cause. A copy of each Financial Affidavit shall be served upon the opposing party, along with blank copies of the relevant Financial Affidavits and a copy of Rule 8.4. The opposing party shall respond by filing the relevant Financial Affidavits. which he or she shall provide to the applicant's attorney, or if unrepresented, the applicant, within the time provided by this Rule.

(2) Petition for Modification of Child Support

A petition for modification of a prior order for child support shall set forth the amount of child support which is currently in effect or shall set forth verbatim in the body of the petition the order sought to be modified or comply with Rule 8.3(c). The applicant shall file the original of the petition and a Financial Affidavit: Child Support, which reflects the current circumstances of the party seeking a modification of an existing child support order. A copy of the petition and the Financial Affidavit shall be provided to the assigned division at the time of the request for issuance of the Order to Show Cause. A copy of each shall be served upon the opposing party, along with blank copy of the relevant Financial Affidavit and a copy of Rule 8.4. The opposing party shall respond by filing the relevant Financial Affidavit, which shall be provided to the applicant's attorney, or if unrepresented, the applicant, within the time provided by this Rule. This provision does not apply to modifications filed pursuant to the Simplified Procedures outlined in Section 22.b. of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.

(e) Failure to Pay Child Support, Spousal Maintenance, or Attorney Fees and Expenses.

In an action for failure to pay child support, spousal maintenance, or attorney's fees and expenses, the opposing party shall file with the Court the relevant Financial Affidavit, which he or she shall provide to the applicant's attorney, or, if unrepresented, the applicant, within the time provided by this Rule, along with copies of the following documents :

(1) That party's most recently filed federal and state income tax returns;

(2) That party's four most recent consecutive wage statements from all employment:

(3) That party's most recent W-2, 1099, and K-1 forms.

The Order to Show Cause shall specifically direct the respondent to comply with Rule 8.4. The Order to Show Cause shall not require the production of any additional documents, but this does not preclude the applicant from requesting additional documents through discovery procedures.

(f) Failure to Comply.

If either party fails to comply with any part of this Rule, upon the complying party's request or the court's own motion and in the absence of good cause shown, the court may: (1) vacate or continue the hearing; (2) enter an interim award of relief in favor of a complying party and against a non-complying party based on the complying party's Financial Affidavit; (3) award a complying party his or her attorney's fees and expenses incurred in preparing for and attending the hearing, and/or; (4) enter other appropriate relief. For purposes of making an interim award the court may, on its own motion, examine either party if it deems such examination necessary. The non-complying party may be precluded from introducing any evidence and cross-examining the complying party for purposes of making an interim award.

(g) Petitions to Modify Child Custody.

No hearing for modification of a child custody order or decree shall be set unless there is compliance with A.R.S. Section 25-411 and the following:

(1) Any party seeking a modification of child custody shall file with the Clerk of the Court the following:

(i) Petition for Modification of Child Custody, either verified by the moving party or supported by the requisite affidavit(s) pursuant to A.R.S. Section 25- 411; and

(ii) Form of notice to all persons entitled to notice pursuant to A.R.S. Section 25-1035; and

(iii) Affidavit required by A.R.S. Section 25-1039.

(2) The Clerk of the Superior Court shall issue the Notice of Filing Petition for Modification of Child Custody.

(3) The petition, affidavits and notice shall be served on all persons entitled to notice, pursuant to the appropriate provisions of Rules 4 or 5, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.

(4) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, all persons entitled to notice shall file within twenty (20) days from the date of service a response and/or controverting affidavits. A copy of each document shall be provided to the Presiding Judge of the Family Law Divisions and the opposing party's attorney or, if unrepresented, the opposing party.

(5) No sooner than five (5) days after expiration of the time permitted for the filing of the response and/or the controverting affidavits, either party or attorney shall provide the approved form for a Request for Order Granting or Denying Custody Hearing to the Presiding Judge of the Family Law Divisions or a designee.

(6) The court shall, in accordance with A.R.S. Section 25-411 and without argument or hearing, determine whether a hearing should be granted. A copy of the Court's determination shall be mailed by the court to all persons entitled to notice.

(h) Request for Order to Show Cause Hearing Form.

An approved form for a Request for Order to Show Cause Hearing shall be submitted with each petition for order to show cause or request for order to appear, however designated. The Request for Order to Show Cause Hearing shall indicate, at a minimum, the nature of the proceeding, the identity of the judicial officer who heard any previous matters, the estimated time for the entire hearing, the relief sought, whether a court reporter is requested, and the identity of opposing counsel. A copy of the Request for Order to Show Cause Hearing shall be provided to the opposing party or counsel with his or her copy of the petition for order to show cause or request for order to appear, however designated.

(i) Hearings on Motions.

Matters brought before the court by notice of hearing on a motion or notice of hearing on any other application for relief, however designated, shall be heard by oral argument without testimony at the hearing. Matters that will entail testimony at the hearing shall be brought before the court by petition for order to show cause or request for order to appear or other notice that testimony will be offered.

(j) Stipulation and Orders.

Rule 5(j), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, is interpreted to require that a proposed order must be separate only if an order is for final judgment.

(8.5) Pre-Trial or Pre-Hearing Statement

(a) Preparation, Signing, and Filing of Statements.

In every family law case set for trial, including any bifurcated portion of such trial and all post- decree hearings for modification of child custody, counsel who will try the case for the parties and who are authorized to make binding stipulations on behalf of the parties shall meet personally and prepare a written pre-trial or pre-hearing statement, signed by each counsel, which is to be filed with the Court not later than thirty (30) days prior to the date set for trial or hearing. In the event that the parties are unable to agree on a joint pre- trial statement after making a good-faith effort to do so, any party may file a separate or individual pre-trial statement setting forth the information required by this Rule. A copy of the statement (whether joint or individual) shall be filed with the Court Administrator and the trial division at the time the original is filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court. Failure to comply with this rule may result in the imposition of interim relief as set forth in Rule 8.5(d) or any other sanctions provided by Rule 8.6.

(b) Contents of Statements.

The pre-trial or pre-hearing statement in family law cases shall contain the following:

(1) A statement of the contested and uncontested issues of fact or law to be presented to the Court. With respect to contested issues, each party shall set forth a brief statement of his or her position on all issues and his or her detailed proposal as to how each should be resolved by the Court.

(2) A current Financial Affidavit, if applicable, in accordance with Rule 8.4.

(3) A detailed itemized inventory of the community, joint tenancy, and other property held in common by the parties, and the separate property of each party. This inventory shall set forth the date the property was acquired, by what title the parties hold the property, the amount of encumbrance thereon, and each party's evaluation of the fair market value of the property. The Court-approved form, "Inventory of Property ", shall be used in relation to the information required under this Rule.

(4) A list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses expected to be called at the time of trial.

(5) A list of all exhibits which each party expects to offer at the time of trial together with a description sufficient to identify each exhibit. The parties shall indicate which exhibits they have agreed will be admissible at trial and if there is objection, the specified objection that will be made if the exhibit is offered.

(6) A statement that all pre-trial discovery procedures under Rules 26 to 37, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, have been completed and that all answers and supplemental answers to interrogatories pursuant to Rule 33, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, reflect facts known to the date of the pre- trial or pre-hearing statement.

(7) A statement that counsel have in good faith discussed settlement.

(8) A statement of the parties' estimate of the time necessary for trial or hearing.

(9) A statement that each party has received a copy of the pre-trial or pre- hearing statement and that each party has exchanged true and correct copies of all exhibits, and any written reports of experts who have been listed on the list of witnesses.

(c) Restrictions on Exhibits and Witnesses.

No other exhibits or witnesses shall be offered or presented during the trial or hearing other than those listed and exchanged except when otherwise permitted by the Court in the interest of justice and for good cause shown.

(d) Sanctions Concerning Pre-Trial or Pre-Hearing Statements.

If there has been a failure by either or both counsel, or the parties if not represented by counsel, to meet and prepare the pre-trial or pre-hearing statement, the Court may impose any of the sanctions or penalties provided by these Rules or any other rules, statute or authority of the Court, or on request of a party, and in the absence of good cause shown, the Court may continue the trial or hearing, enter an interim award or relief to the requesting party based on his or her Financial Affidavit, and/or award the requesting party his or her attorney's fees and expenses incurred in preparing for and attending the hearing, trial or conference scheduled by the Court. For purposes of making an interim award, the Court may, on its own motion, examine the party requesting such interim relief if it deems such examination necessary. The opposing party may be precluded from introducing any evidence and from cross-examining the requesting party for purposes of making an interim award.

(8.6) Sanctions

Any party or his or her attorney appearing at the trial, a pre-trial conference or any hearing or conference held in a family law case who has not complied with these rules may be ordered by the Court to immediately comply at the time of his or her appearance before proceeding. For failure of any counsel or party to appear at and participate in good faith in any hearing or conference scheduled by the Court, or required by these rules, to prepare fully therefor or to comply in good faith with the rules governing the procedures in a family law case, a judicial officer of the Family Law Divisions may make such order as permitted by law. These orders may include a judgment of dismissal against such counsel's client, the reassignment of the case to a deferred position on the active calendar, assignment to the inactive calendar, or the taxation of attorney's fees or costs then or subsequently incurred, or the imposition upon either counsel or either party of further sanctions or penalties provided by statute, rule or authority of the Court, including contempt of court.

(8.7) Parent Education Course

The Notice of Program Completion -- Parent Education Course shall be filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court by the party or the party's attorney promptly upon issuance, and a copy shall promptly be provided to the opposing party or attorney.

(8.8) Responding Party's Appearance Fee

A decree of dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a custody order awarding joint legal or physical custody, may not be entered unless the responding party's appearance fee has been paid. If the decree or order is to be entered on default and the responding party has appeared in the action only by payment of an appearance fee to allow an award of joint legal or physical custody, then notice to the responding party pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2). Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, shall not be required.

(8.9) Conciliation Court Services; Mediation of Custody and Parenting Time Disputes.

(a) Mediation Policy.

This rule is adopted to promote the resolution and settlement of custody and parenting time disputes through mediation rather than litigation which often is painful and traumatic to the parties as well as the children. An impartial mediator can help parties come to an agreement that will be in the best interests of the children. In order to preserve and promote the integrity of mediation as a dispute-resolution process, the Court will endeavor to include in its order all reasonable agreements reached by the parties through mediation.

(b) Matters Subject to Mediation

(1) All issues of custody or parenting time of minor children at the trial and post-trial stages shall be subject to mediation as set forth in this Rule. Petitions to establish temporary custody and/or parenting time shall not be subject to mediation, except upon the written stipulation of the parties or order of the court.

(2) Unless the Court orders to the contrary, this Rule shall not apply:

(a) If one party is a non-resident of Pima County, Arizona.

(b) To actions to enforce parenting time or custody rights.

(c) Jurisdiction.

Mediation proceedings shall be under the jurisdiction of the Superior Court and shall be conducted by the Conciliation Court unless private mediation, as hereinafter provided, is stipulated to by the parties.

(d) Commencement of Mediation.

(1) Temporary Orders.

At the time the court enters any temporary custody or parenting time orders, except those entered by stipulation, it shall include an order for mediation.

(2) Motions to Set.

Upon the filing of a Motion to Set and Certificate of Readiness or a Controverting Certificate thereto wherein it appears that custody or parenting time is in dispute and no prior mediation order has been issued or stipulations filed, the Superior Court shall order mediation. Trial of custody or parenting time issues shall not be held until mediation is concluded.

(3) Post-Decree.

The Superior Court shall order mediation in any case in which it finds grounds to schedule a hearing on post-decree modification of custody as provided in Rule 8.4(g) and post-decree actions to modify parenting time. In all post-decree actions to modify parenting time, an order for mediation shall be submitted with the petition for modification. No post- decree custody or modification of parenting time hearing shall be held until after mediation is concluded.

(4) By a Party.

The Superior Court shall order mediation upon the written request of a party to, or legal representative of a child affected by, a pre-trial or post-trial action involving a custody or parenting time dispute.

(5) By a Party When There is no Current Court Action.

(A) A party may request mediation regarding custody, parenting time, or any other aspect of the parenting plan if the following threshold criteria are met:

(i) The parties have agreed in writing in the most recent parenting plan or by stipulation or were ordered to seek mediation as a method of resolving disputes prior to petitioning the court for a hearing; or

(ii) There is an order or judgment adjudicating paternity, but there is no custody or parenting time ordered in the paternity action; or

(iii) It has been more than one year since the most recent court ordered parenting plan or child custody and parenting time orders, and there is a significant change in the parent(s) or child(ren) circumstances that would warrant a change in the existing orders, and all parties are not willing to voluntarily agree to mediation.

(B) Procedure to request Mediation under this section

(i) The party desiring mediation shall file with the Clerk of the Court a Request for Mediation on a court approved form and provide a copy to the assigned judicial officer.

(ii) The Request for Mediation shall be served upon the other parent pursuant to the appropriate provisions of Rules 4.1 or 4.2, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, or by certified mail, return receipt. If service is obtained by certified mail, service shall be complete and time shall begin to run from the date of receipt by the party being served.

(iii) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the party upon which request for mediation is served, shall, within 20 days of service, file a response to the request for mediation. A copy of each document filed shall be provided to the assigned judicial officer, and the opposing party's attorney, or if unrepresented, the opposing party.

(iv) No sooner than 5 days after the expiration of the time permitted for filing a response, either party or attorney shall provide the assigned judicial officer with the court approved form entitled Request for Order Granting or Denying a Request for Mediation.

(v) If the court grants the Request for Mediation, the parties shall attend mediation at Pima County Conciliation Court at the time and place directed. If the court denies the Request for Mediation, the Request shall be dismissed.

(vi) The mediator shall submit any agreement reached to attorneys for the parties, if represented, or directly to the assigned judicial officer for approval if parties are unrepresented.

(vii) If the mediator, upon screening of the case, believes that mediation is not warranted in this particular case, the mediator shall conclude the mediation and file such a notice of conclusion of mediation with the Clerk of the Court and provide a copy to the assigned judicial division.

(6) By Stipulation of Both Parties.

If there is no current custody or parenting time action before the court, parties and/or their attorneys may request voluntary mediation at the Conciliation Court by completing and signing a Stipulation to Mediate form and filing it with the Conciliation Court. Upon receipt of the properly completed Stipulation, the Conciliation Court will set a time and date for mediation. Any agreement reached or failure to reach agreement will be processed in the normal manner. However, failure by a party or parties to attend voluntary mediation will not result in a request to the Court for assistance.

(e) Scheduling Mediation.

Upon entry of an Order for mediation, the Conciliation Court shall schedule an initial mediation conference and shall notify the parties or their attorneys if represented by counsel, of the date and time thereof. The parties may proceed with private mediation as provided in Rule 8.7(f).

(f) Private Mediation.

As an alternative to mediation through the Conciliation Court, the parties may stipulate to mediate custody or parenting time disputes through a private mediator selected and paid by them.

(1) If the parties agree to proceed with the private mediation, both parties or their attorneys, if any, shall sign and file with the Superior Court a written stipulation of such agreement. The stipulation shall set forth the name, address and telephone number of the mediator selected and the date set for the first mediation session. The stipulation shall acknowledge that the mediator has received a copy of Rule 8.9. A copy of the stipulation shall promptly be provided to the Conciliation Court.

(2) The provisions of Rule 8.9 shall apply to private mediation. References therein to the Conciliation Court shall be deemed to include private mediators.

(g) Mediation Conference.

Each party shall attend all conferences as required by the mediator. Attorneys for the parties may confer with the mediator prior to the initial mediation conference but shall be excluded from conferences. The mediator may privately interview the child or children and all persons having any relation to the controversy, including either of the parties' attorneys, if any.

(h) Conclusion of Mediation.

The mediator shall notify the Court in writing when an agreement has been reached or the mediator believes further mediation is not warranted, at which time mediation shall be concluded.

(i) Mediation Agreement.

Any agreement reached through mediation shall be signed by the parties and shall be submitted to the Court for approval no later than thirty (30) days from the date of signing. The provisions of A.R.S. Section 25-317 shall apply to mediation agreements, and no agreement reached through mediation may be enforced until approved by the Superior Court and incorporated into an order or decree. If the Court proposes to modify such agreement and either party refuses to accept such modification, then the agreement shall be a nullity and shall not be admissible in evidence.

(j) Failure to Appear.

If one or both parties fail to appear at a mediation conference, the mediator may report to the Court the identity of each person who failed to appear, and the Court shall take whatever action it deems necessary or appropriate under the circumstances.

(k) Confidentiality of Mediation Process.

Mediation proceedings shall be held in private. All communications, verbal or written, from either party or any other person connected with the proceedings shall not be disclosed in any Court proceedings even upon waiver by either or both parties. This provision shall not exempt the reporting of information as may be required under the provisions of A.R.S. Section 13-3620.

(l) Subsequent Custody or Parenting Time Evaluation.

The Conciliation Court Counselor or private mediator who acted as mediator under this Rule shall not later conduct a custody or parenting time evaluation.

(m) Waiver.

Upon the filing of a petition alleging substantial good cause and after hearing, the Court may waive the provisions of this Rule.

(8.10) Conciliation Court Services; Petitions for Conciliation

(a) Filing of Pleadings.

All petitions and other pleadings filed pursuant to A.R.S. Section 25-381.01 et seq., shall be filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court and properly served upon the opposing party. Such proceedings shall be allotted file numbers serially, prefixing the number with the letter "X". These files shall be known as "conciliation files." Conciliation Petitions may also be submitted at the Conciliation Court. All petitions shall be reviewed by the Conciliation Court for conformance with statute before being filed by the Clerk.

(b) Statements of Pending Proceedings.

Filed conciliation petitions shall state, in addition to the matters provided in A.R.S. Section 25-381.11, whether or not there is a pending legal proceeding between the parties. The failure to so state shall not, however, affect the jurisdiction of the conciliation court.

(c) Minute Entry Concerning Pending Action.

Upon the filing of a conciliation petition, if there is a pending action for annulment, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, the Clerk of the Superior Court forthwith transfer the case to the Conciliation Court.

(d) Hearings; Notices, Mailings and Response.

After the filing of a conciliation petition, or after the transfer of a pending family law case by order of the court, as provided in A.R.S. Section 25-381.19, a judicial officer shall direct the Conciliation Court to schedule a time and place for the hearing. The notice shall be mailed not less than five (5) days prior to the hearing and failure to respond to same without good cause may be deemed a contempt of court. At the time an initial notice is mailed to a respondent in a conciliation proceeding, a copy of the filed petition shall also be mailed. Hearings shall be conducted before the director of conciliation or conciliation court counselor unless otherwise ordered by a judicial officer. A hearing may be recessed to a later time or rescheduled before the conciliation court judge. Unless all parties otherwise consent, the conciliation proceedings shall be terminated sixty (60) days after the filing of the petition.

(e) Confidentiality.

Communications, either oral or written, between a party to a conciliation proceeding and the conciliation court shall be confidential and shall not be divulged to third persons except by order of the court.

(Rule 8.11) Appointment of Special Masters in Family Court Cases Involving Children - Effective until January 1, 2005

At the request of either party or sua sponte, the court may, in its sole discretion, prior to, simultaneously with, or after entry of a decree, judgment or custody or parenting time order, order a mental health professional, mediator, family law attorney, or other qualified third person to act as special master for further proceedings for further proceedings involving the children. There shall be no delegation to the special master of the court's authority respecting any modification of child custody or extended visitation schedule, any child support order, or any child support arrearage collection proceeding. The special master shall act to resolve parental disagreements involving children, and for this purpose may employ the help of psychiatrists, psychologists, attorneys, marital and family counselors, or other persons whom the court deems qualified. This Rule will be supplemented by Implementing Guidelines to be issued by the Pima County Superior Court Presiding Judge. The special master shall be compensated in accordance with the Implementing Guidelines.

Amended October 11, 2002; June 10, 2003; April 27, 2004

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