Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: I am representing myself, Pro Per in a short 1 hour hearing on temp orders. I am the petitioner and the respondent is listing me as on e of her witnesses to call. Can I refuse to take the stand as her objective will be to get me to testify against myself and I cannot cross examine myself after? Also can I and how could I ask the Judge to not grant every witness she has submitted, time on the stand, as that will run out the clock with so many of them? I have not called any witnesses because we only were given an hour and thought this was only to go over the details of already submitted evidence

Answer: Temporary orders hearings involving divorce under A.R.S. § 25-315(B) or other similar statutes are governed in part by the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, rather than many of the standard Arizona Rules of Evidence. See Ariz. R. Fam. Law P. 2(B); See also Arizona R. Fam. Law P. 1. Some of these rules provide for relaxed standards for the admission of evidence (including the taking of testimony). Ariz. R. Fam. Law P. 2(B)(2). Any party objecting to these relaxed standards may file a written request with the court to invoke strict compliance with the Arizona Rules of Evidence within a reasonable amount of time after receiving notice of the hearing. Ariz. R. Fam. Law P. 2(B)(1). An evidentiary hearing is generally conducted in much the same way a trial is conducted. The moving party is the party asking for the temporary orders, whether or not that party was the petitioner or respondent originally. Ariz. R. Fam. Law P. 3(B)(4). The court will grant the moving party an opening statement, the chance to present evidence, and perhaps a chance to present rebuttal evidence after the non-moving party’s presentation of evidence. During the evidentiary hearing, there is nothing to stop the moving party from calling the non-moving party as a witness for direct examination, and treating that opposing party as a hostile witness, allowing the use of leading questions. This also applies vice-versa to the non-moving party. See Ariz. R. Evid. 611(c)(2). Because the moving party presents evidence first, the moving party also has the first chance to call themselves as a witness if they so desire. Furthermore, under either the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, or under the Arizona Rules of Evidence, parties can object to the use of testimony that is cumulative or a waste of the court’s time. Ariz. R. Fam. Law P. 2(B)(2); Ariz. R. Evid. 403. For appropriate forms for Maricopa County, check the superior court website: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/Forms/FamilyCourt/fc_drt1.asp

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QUESTIONS

  • I am representing myself, Pro Per in a short 1 hour hearing on temp orders. I am the petitioner and the respondent is listing me as on e of her witnesses to call. Can I refuse to take the stand as her objective will be to get me to testify against myself and I cannot cross examine myself after? Also can I and how could I ask the Judge to not grant every witness she has submitted, time on the stand, as that will run out the clock with so many of them? I have not called any witnesses because we only were given an hour and thought this was only to go over the details of already submitted evidence

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