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2008 Arizona Judicial Branch End-of Session Legislative Report Cover
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GOVERNMENT
JUVENILE
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Chapter 7

SB1013

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

ARREST WARRANTS; CHILD SUPPORT; FIDUCIARY
Sen. Chuck Gray

The provision allowing a facsimile of a judicial officer’s signature on a fiduciary arrest warrant or child support arrest warrant to be deemed the authorized signature of that officer is deleted. The bill is intended to expand the ability of courts to use e-signatures and not be limited to an original or copy of a written signature.

Statute Amended:  A.R.S. §14-5701, 25-681

Court Impact:  Removes the requirement for a facsimile of the judge's signature on a fiduciary or child support arrest warrant.

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Chapter 63

HB2276

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

CHILD SUPPORT; ARREARAGES
Rep. Hershberger

When calculating support arrearages not reduced to a final written money judgment, interest accrues only on the principal and not on the interest. Past support reduced to a final written money judgment before the effective date of the bill accrues interest at the rate of ten per cent annually beginning on entry of the judgment by the court and accrues interest only on the principal and not on interest. Past support reduced to a final written money judgment after the bill goes into effect does not accrue interest for any time period.

Any credit against support arrearages other than by court order may be made by waiver of support arrearages if a written affidavit is signed by the person entitled to receive the support or both parties to the support order.

Statute amended:  A.R.S. §25-510
Statute repealed:  A.R.S. §25-515

Court Impact: Amends A.R.S. § 25-510 to eliminate interest on past support judgments entered after the effective date.

Also, clarifies that interest continues to accrue on arrearage judgments and on previously entered past support judgments and explains current law that interest does not accrue on interest. Repeals A.R.S. § 25-515, since its substance is incorporated in A.R.S. § 25-510.

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Chapter 78

SB1100

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

CPS SERVICES; COURT ORDER
Sen. Landrum-Taylor

Current restrictive language on a family court’s authority to request or order services from the Division of Children and Family Services is replaced with more permissive language. The court, not the Department of Economic Security, must believe a child may be the victim of child abuse or neglect in order for services to be requested or ordered.

Statute Amended:  A.R.S. §25-403.03

Court Impact:  Removes the language in A.R.S. §25-403.03 that prohibited the court from ordering services for a child the court believed to be the victim of child abuse or neglect through the Department of Economic Security.

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Chapter 101

HB2277

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

CHILD SUPPORT; PRESUMPTIONS
Rep. Hershberger

A court is to presume that a custodial or non-custodial parent is capable of full-time employment at the applicable state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Statute amended:  A.R.S. §25-320

Court Impact:  Amends the statute to permit the court, when establishing child support, to presume the obligor is capable of full-time employment at either the applicable state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. The current statute only required application of the federal minimum wage. This presumption does not apply to noncustodial parents who are under the age of eighteen and who are attending high school.

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Chapter 124

SB1112

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

DIVORCE; DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY
Sen. Linda Gray

Service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment does not:

  • Alter the status of preexisting community property
  • Change the status of community property that is used to acquire new property or the status of that new property as community property
  • Alter the duties and rights of either spouse with respect to the management of community property (except as restricted by a preliminary injunction)

The court may consider all debts and obligations related to the property, including accrued or accruing taxes, which would become due on the receipt, sale or other disposition of the property when dividing property in a marriage dissolution or legal separation proceeding. The court may also consider the exempt status of certain properties from process for collection of debt.

The court is required to make specific findings of fact and supporting conclusions of law in its decree if any part of the court’s division of joint, common or community property is in the nature of child support or spousal maintenance.

Statutes amended:  A.R.S. §25-318, 25-211

Court Impact:  Disposition of property; retroactivity; notice to creditors; assignment of debts; contempt of court

  • Allows the court to consider the following when dividing community property:
    • all debts and obligations related to the property, including accrued or accruing taxes that would become due on the receipt, sale or other disposition of the property.
    • the status of certain property as exempt from process for the collection of debts.
  • Requires the court to make specific findings of fact and supporting conclusions of law in its decree if the division of joint, common or community property is in the nature of child support or spousal maintenance.
  • Makes technical and conforming changes.

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Chapter 162

SB1282

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

ADULT ADOPTION
Sen. Miranda

An adult is now able to adopt another adult between the ages of 18 and 21 years old if the adult being adopted consents to the adoption.

Statute amended:  A.R.S. § 14-8101

Court Impact:  Informational

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Chapter 166

HB2601

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of the Court
Court Administrator
Clerk
Judge
 
 
Administrative Officer of the Courts

SHORT-TERM CAREGIVERS; FOSTER CHILDREN
Rep. Adams

If a foster parent experiences circumstances that would necessitate leaving a foster child in the short-term care of another person, the foster parent is required to:

  • Use reasonable judgment in their choice of an adult to provide care
  • Notify the Department of Economic Security case manager within twenty-four hours in a nonemergency situation
  • Notify the DES case manager within seventy-two hours in an emergency situation

A foster parent who is certified to care for a developmentally disabled child, a child needing special treatment, or a medically fragile child must implement the alternate care plan approved by DES if the foster parent needs to leave the child in the care of another person.

Statute created:  A.R.S. § 8-511

Court Impact:  Informational, requires a foster parent to notify DES under defined circumstances when leaving a foster child in the care of another person. Requires the foster parent to have an alternative care plan approved by DES to provide care to a child with developmental disabilities, a medically fragile child or a child receiving treatment foster care when leaving the child in the care of another person.

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Chapter 181

HB2505

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of Court
Court Administrator
Judge
Clerk
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

CHILD SUPPORT; MEDICAL INSURANCE
Rep. Jim Weiers

Parents are required to present to the court a medical support plan for the child that includes the child’s medical support needs, the availability of medical insurance or Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, and whether a cash medical support order is necessary. In title IV-D, cases the parent responsible for providing medical insurance for the child must notify the child support enforcement agency in the Department of Economic Security (DES) if medical insurance has been obtained or if the child is no longer covered under an insurance plan.

If the court finds that neither parent is able to obtain medical insurance for the child that is accessible and available at a reasonable cost the court must:

  • Establish a reasonable monthly cash medical support order to be paid by the obligor, unless medical assistance is being provided to the child under Title XIX, in which case cash medical support will be assigned to the state.
  • Order that medical costs in excess of the cash medical support amount should be paid by each parent according to the percentage assigned for payment of payment of uninsured costs.
  • Set alternative cash medical support order to be paid by the parent ordered to provide medical insurance if the child is not covered within 90 days of the order or if the child is no longer covered by insurance.

The director of DES is permitted to enter into agreements with a consortium of other states to increase the availability of medical insurance coverage.

Defines “accessible” as meaning that insurance is available in the geographic region where the child resides. Defines “reasonable cost” as an amount that does not exceed the higher of five percent of the gross income of the obligated parent or an income- based numeric standard that is prescribed in the child support guidelines.

Statute(s) Amended:  A.R.S. §20-154, 25-320, 25-500

Court Impact:  Provides that the supreme court include the medical support plan as a factor in the child support guidelines. Requires the director of the Department of Insurance to make available to the public a list of authorized insurers offering individual health plans annually.

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Chapter 182

HB2594

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of Court
Court Administrator
Judge
Clerk
Justice Court:
Court Administrator
Justice of the Peace
Clerk
Municipal Court:
Court Administrator
Judge/Magistrate
Clerk
Administrative Office of the Courts

CPS; COURT ORDERS
Rep. Adams

Child Protective Service (CPS) workers are required to make a good faith effort to promptly obtain and abide by court orders that restrict or deny custody, contact or visitation by a parent or other person who resides with the child. The CPS worker must ask the parent, guardian or custodian under investigation if a current court order exists as part of this effort.

Statute Amended:  A.R.S. §8-802

Court Impact:  Courts will need to provide CPS with orders that restrict or deny custody, contact or visitation by a parent or other person who resides with the child. No contact orders could include Orders of Protection or Injunctions Against Harassment.

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Chapter 205

HB2248

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Court Administrator
Judge
Justice Court:
Court Administrator
Justice of the Peace
Municipal Court:
Court Administrator
Judge/Magistrate
Administrative Office of the Courts

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS; HARASSMENT; ORDER; PROTECTION
Rep. Robson

The evidence the court is required to review when considering whether injunction against harassment or an order of protection should issue is expanded to include electronic contact or communication. Clarifies that a person commits harassment if the person contacts another person, anonymously or otherwise, with intent to harass.

Statutes Impacted: A.R.S. § 12-1809, 13-2921, and 13-3602

Court Impact: Clarifies courts are to consider electronic communications when presented as evidence for the issuance of an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment.

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Chapter 248

HB2836

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of Court
Court Administrator
Judge
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

GUARDIANS AND CONSERVATORS
Rep. Barto

If a petitioner for a guardianship or conservatorship of a person withdraws the petition or the petitioner fails to prosecute the petition, the court may order that compensation of the lawyer or expert appointed as a result of the petition be paid by the petitioner or the ward’s estate.

A lawyer employed to represent a guardian or conservator is entitled to reasonable compensation from the ward’s estate if the petition is granted.

An estate conservator is no longer required to provide a final account if the conservatorship is terminated due to the death of the protected person and a verified statement containing items enumerated in statute is filed, including a written waiver of the final accounting by all the protected person’s successors. The personal representative who is not the conservator may file the waiver.

The list of individuals who are entitled to reasonable compensation from the estate of a protected person is expanded to include a psychologist and an independent lawyer not appointed by the court.

The contents of the closing statement required to be delivered to the protected person’s successors are also enumerated in statute.

The following terms are defined:

  • ‘Guardian’ includes both a guardian and a temporary guardian.
  • ‘Ward’ is amended to include an alleged incapacitated person.
  • ‘Conservator’ includes a conservator, temporary conservator or special conservator.
  • ‘Petition” is a petition submitted to the court for the appointment of a guardian, temporary guardian, conservator or temporary conservator.
  • ‘Protected person’ includes a person who is alleged to be in need of protection.
  • ‘Protected person’s successor’ include the personal representative of the protected person’s estate, if the personal representative and the conservator are not the same person. The protected person’s heirs, if the protected person died without a will and the personal representative and the conservator are the same person. The devisees under the protected person’s will, if the protected person died with a will and the personal representative and the conservator are the same person.

Statute Amended: A.R.S. §14-5314, 14-5414.01, 14-5419, 14-5425

Court Impact: Prescribes additional parties who may receive compensation in guardianship and conservatorship cases including an independent lawyer or psychologist. The court may order the compensation from the ward's estate or by the petitioner. The court may consider any evidence it considers appropriate in making its determination. Allows a conservator to file a verified statement in lieu of a final accounting with permission of the court and specifies the content of the statement. Specifies condition under which a conservator may proceed to administer and distribute a decedents estate without additional or further appointment.

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Chapter 278

HB2453

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Clerk of Court
Court Administrator
Judge
Clerk
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

CHILDREN; OPEN COURT PROCEEDINGS
Rep. Paton

All court proceedings related to dependency, permanent guardianship and termination of parental rights are open to the public. The court may close a proceeding for good cause or open a previously closed proceeding upon request. The factors to be considered by the court when determining the closure of a proceeding are enumerated in statute. The court may find an individual in contempt for disclosure of identifying information of a child, sibling or parent.

Statute Created: A.R.S. §8-525

Court Impact: Establishes a presumption that court proceeding related to dependency, permanent guardianship and termination of parental rights are open to the public. The court must explain to the parties present that they are prohibited from disclosing any information that may identify the child and the child's siblings, parents, guardians and caregivers, and any other person whose identity will be disclosed during the proceeding. Explain contempt of court to the attendees and the possible consequences of violating an order of the court. The court may close the proceeding for good cause as enumerated in the statute.

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Chapter 280

HB2455

Effective Date
General

Item of interest to:
Superior Court:
Chief Probation Officer
Clerk of Court
Court Administrator
Judge
Clerk
 
 
Administrative Office of the Courts

CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES; RECORDS; DUTIES
Rep. Paton

In providing services to the child and the family, the court must consider any criminal prosecution relating to the offenses which led to the child’s removal from the home as well as any orders of the criminal court. Such information may be provided by law enforcement or the county attorney.

The list of people to whom CPS information must be provided is expanded to include law enforcement, a prosecutor, and an attorney or guardian ad litem representing a child victim of crime. The list of reasons why information must be provided is expanded to include information to a defendant after a criminal charge has been filed as required by an order of the criminal court. CPS is required to promptly provide information to the public pertaining to child abuse, abandonment or neglect that resulted in a fatality or near fatality.

CPS is required to promptly release any requested information and to consult with the county attorney’s office as to whether or not releasing such information would cause a specific, material harm to a criminal investigation. CPS is prohibited from releasing information if the county attorney demonstrates that release would cause specific, material harm to a criminal investigation or if the release if it would violate federal law, would likely endanger the safety of any person, or would violate the privacy rights of a child victim of crime.

Any person may file an action in superior court if the person believes that the county attorney has failed to demonstrate the specific, material harm to a criminal investigation and request the court to take an in camera review and order disclosure of the information. A person who has been denied CPS information, or is not specifically authorized to obtain information, may bring a special action in the superior court to order the department to release the information. The court must take all reasonable steps to prevent any clearly unwarranted invasions of privacy and protect the privacy and dignity of child victims of crime.

The court may release CPS information to a person not specifically authorized only if it determines that the rights of the parties seeking the information outweigh the rights of the parties who are entitled to confidentiality.

All CPS files, records, reports and other papers compiled are subject to disclosure. CPS training must include knowledge of a child’s rights as a victim of crime. CPS must investigate all complaints of “criminal conduct” formerly “extremely serious conduct.”

For each county, the county attorney, sheriff, chief law enforcement officer and the CPS shall develop, adopt and implement protocols to guide the investigation regarding allegations involving criminal conduct.

Statute Amended: A.R.S. §8-304, 8-541, 8-542, 8-801, 8-802, 8-807, 8-817, 8-821, 8-846

Court Impact: A person who has been denied CPS information regarding a fatality or near fatality caused by abuse, abandonment, or neglect may file a special action (39-121.02) in superior court for release of the information. The department or a person who is not specifically authorized by this section to obtain CPS information may petition a judge of the superior court to order the department to release CPS information. The court must take all reasonable steps to prevent any clearly unwarranted invasions of privacy and protect the privacy and dignity of child victims of crime. CPS is required to provide information to a defendant after a criminal charge has been filed as required by an order of the criminal court. The court shall consider any criminal prosecution relating to the offenses which led to the child's removal from the home and any orders of the criminal court when considering placement or reunification. Information may be provided by law enforcement or the county attorney. The department is not required by this section to disclose CPS information if, in consultation with the county attorney, the county attorney demonstrates that disclosure would cause a specific, material harm to a criminal investigation. Courts should be aware of the effect of this bill that makes technical changes renumbering A.R.S. § 8-807(S) as A.R.S. § 8-807(T) and A.R.S. § 8-821(H) as A.R.S. § 8-821(G). The change requires courts to update their automation system.

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