Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: We are divorced and both relocating to Phoenix--what do we need to do in order to have our child custody agreement be under Arizona jurisdiction once we've established residency?

Answer:

The process of "filing in" a foreign order or decree (i.e. one from out of state) with the Arizona courts so that the Arizona courts can enforce/recognize it, is called the "domestication process."   The steps in the process are governed by statute.  The general steps to domesticate a foreign divorce decree in Arizona are as follows:

(1) First, contact the court that originally issued your divorce decree and child custody order and ask the clerk of that court for "authenticated"  copies of the documents.  (Authentication requires a specific seal or a certain number of seals affixed to the copies by the clerk - it is dictated by statute). 

(2) Once you have authenticated copies of the documents you want to domesticate (i.e. decree/child custody orders) - then you will need to prepare a separate document entitled "Notice and Affidavit of Filing Foreign Decree".  You should review the requirements of this pleading that are set forth in ARS § 12-1703. Generally, the "Notice and Affidavit" will:

  • State your name; your current address;
  • The other party's name; the other party's address; and;
  • Identify the "foreign decree" you are filing with the Court (i.e. Divorce Decree from the State of "X" County of Y dated "Z", Child Custody Order dated "Q").

You will need to sign the "Notice and Affidavit" before a notary public.

(3) Take the notarized "Notice and Affidavit" and the authenticated copies of the decree/custody order  to the Clerk of the Superior Court (Family Court Case filing).  You will need to fill out a "cover sheet" for a new "Family Court" case. 

(4) Present to the clerk of the family court (1) the Family Court Cover Sheet, (2) the "original" authenticated documents plus 2 additional copies (Note: do not remove the staples of the authenticated documents when making copies) and (3) the original and two additional copies of the "Notice and Affidavit" for filing .  The filing fee is currently $206.00 in Maricopa County, Arizona.  The clerk will assign a Family Court Case number for your matter. 

(5) After you have filed everything, you need to mail copies of all the filed documents to the other party (i.e. your ex-wife).  You must then file what is called a "Proof of Mailing" with the court. (See, ARS § 12-1703B).  A proof of mailing avows to the court that the documents (*specifically identify each of them*) were mailed on a specific date to a specific party (i.e. your ex wife) at a specific address.  Usually, when proof of mailings are required, it recommended that you mail the documents by certified or restricted mail so that you can attach a mailing receipt to the proof of mailing.    Read the statutes carefully to be sure that the requirements are met.

(6) You are then required to wait  twenty days from the date of mailing before commencing any action regarding the domesticated orders (i.e. to enforce, modify, etc). 

Comments:

On 7/8/16
angelica said
Thanks! good info.

QUESTIONS

  • We are divorced and both relocating to Phoenix--what do we need to do in order to have our child custody agreement be under Arizona jurisdiction once we've established residency?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

  • Welcome to our Newly Redesigned Website! Let us know how we are doing! Please take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey.

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS