Evaluation Services (Parenting Conference)
By order of the Court, Conciliation Services will assign a Parenting Conference Conciliator to conduct the conference. The purpose of the non-confidential Parenting Conference is to assist the Court in determining the best interests of the child(ren) after considering all relevant factors, including those outlined in A.R.S. §25-403. This information may be related but not limited to the child(ren)'s residential arrangements, the amount of time they spend with each parent, and how the parents might assume decision-making responsibility for their child(ren).
The Parenting Conference is a non-confidential process that identifies areas of agreement and significant issues in dispute regarding legal decision-making and/or parenting time. Parental concerns and parental fitness are assessed when necessary. The process consists of the following:
1. Initial Referral
During the court hearing, the judge will order that the parties attend a parenting conference. Additionally, both parties will receive the order to appear with their hearing information by mail. After the court hearing, the parties must report to the Clerk of the Court to make payment arrangements for the Conference. There is a service fee of $300 per person for Parenting Conferences.
2. Collateral Information
Department of Child Safety, law enforcement records, and other relevant information may be reviewed by the assigned Conciliator. Information from additional sources may be collected when deemed necessary. These documents will be requested by Conciliation Services and provided directly to the Conciliator.
The Parenting Conference typically includes a joint meeting with the parents and may include individual meetings with the parents and interviews and/or child interviews with the child(ren). Other parties involved with the family may be interviewed at the discretion of the Conciliator. The parties may reach an agreement on some or all of the parenting issues during the Parenting Conference. If the parties' agreement appears to be in the best interests of the child(ren), the Conciliator may recommend the agreement to the court. However, if the Conciliator has identified issues of concern, they will address those issues in the report. The Conciliator may report impressions regarding areas of disagreement and possible solutions for the court's consideration.
4. Written Report
The goal of the written report is to provide sufficient information to the Court for determining appropriate orders regarding legal decision-making and/or parenting time that would be in the best interest of the parties minor child(ren) after considering all relevant factors, including those set forth in A.R.S § 25-403. The Conciliator will provide the written report to the Court within 60 days or 14 days prior to any scheduled hearings in the case. The report shall be delivered to the Court and counsel or the parties if they are self-represented.
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