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New law will impact divorces with child custody issues

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Many Arizona residents know that some divorces can be stressful and difficult for all parties involved. Many issues can become hotly contested and can quickly spiral out of control if not addressed in a timely manner. Child custody, in particular, has always had the potential to be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce proceeding. Normally, when two divorcing parents cannot agree on who should have custody of a minor child, the issue goes before a judge who will hold a hearing to determine who should be granted temporary custody of the child, pending a final determination at a later date.

In the state of Arizona, the waiting time for this temporary hearing alone can be well over 90 days. Recently, however, Governor Brewer signed legislation that now mandates that judges hold a temporary child custody hearing within 60 days after a motion for temporary custody is filed in court.

This bill is aimed at protecting the rights of non-custodial parents to have adequate contact with their children pending litigation regarding temporary child custody rights. The bill contains some exceptions which allow a non-custodial party to waive the 60 day hearing or allow the parties themselves to reach a mutual agreement in order to waive the requirement.

This legislation may serve to nudge parents in the right direction in terms of reaching a mutual and amicable agreement regarding child custody in order to avoid costly litigation. The bill also serves to protect the child's best interests, which is at the core of all child custody determinations.

Source: azcapitoltimes.com, "Brewer signs bill speeding child custody hearings," April 4, 2013

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