State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Second Regular Session
HOUSE BILL 2348
Amending sections 25-318, 25-319 and 25-323.02, Arizona Revised Statutes; amending title 25, chapter 4, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 25‑403.01; amending section 25-406, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to domestic relations.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 25-318, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-318. Disposition of property; retroactivity; notice to creditors; assignment of debts; contempt of court
A. In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage, or for legal separation, or in a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage by a court which previously lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or previously lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the property, the court shall assign each spouse's sole and separate property to such spouse. It shall also divide the community, joint tenancy and other property held in common equitably, though not necessarily in kind, without regard to marital misconduct. For the purposes of this section only, property acquired by either spouse outside this state shall be deemed to be community property if the property would have been community property if acquired in this state. This section does not prevent the court from considering all ACTUAL damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim, excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
B. The community, joint tenancy and other property held in common for which no provision is made in the decree shall be from the date of the decree held by the parties as tenants in common, each possessed of an undivided one‑half interest.
C. The court may impress a lien on the separate property of either party or the marital property awarded to either party in order to secure the payment of:
1. Any interest or equity the other party has in or to the property.
2. Community debts that the court has ordered to be paid by the parties.
3. An allowance for child support or spousal maintenance, or both.
4. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.
D. The decree or judgment shall specifically describe by legal description any real property affected and shall specifically describe any other property affected.
E. This section applies through both prospective and retrospective operation to property without regard to the date of acquisition.
F. In all actions for the dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court shall require the following statement in the materials provided to the petitioner and to be served on the respondent:
In your property settlement agreement or decree of dissolution or legal separation, the court may assign responsibility for certain community debts to one spouse or the other. Please be aware that a court order that does this is binding on the spouses only and does not necessarily relieve either of you from your responsibility for these community debts. These debts are matters of contract between both of you and your creditors (such as banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, finance companies, utility companies, medical providers and retailers).
Since your creditors are not parties to this court case, they are not bound by court orders or any agreements you and your spouse reach in this case. On request, the court may impose a lien against the separate property of a spouse to secure payment of debts that the court orders that spouse to pay.
You may want to contact your creditors to discuss your debts as well as the possible effects of your court case on your debts. To assist you in identifying your creditors, you may obtain a copy of your spouse's credit report by making a written request to the court for an order requiring a credit reporting agency to release the report to you. Within thirty days after receipt of a request from a spouse who is party to a dissolution of marriage or legal separation action, which includes the court and cause case number of the action, creditors are required by law to provide information as to the balance and account status of any debts for which the requesting spouse may be liable to the creditor. You may wish to use the following form, or one that is similar, to contact your creditors:
Creditor name and
Within thirty days after receipt of this notice, you are requested to provide the balance and account status of any debt identified by account number for which the requesting party may be liable to you.
G. On the written request of any party to a pending dissolution of marriage or legal separation action, the court, except for good cause shown, shall issue an order requiring any credit reporting agency to release the credit report as to the spouse of the requesting party on payment by the requesting party of any customary fee for providing the credit report.
H. On the request of either party and except for good cause shown, the court shall require the parties to submit a debt distribution plan that states the following:
1. How community creditors will be paid.
2. Whether any agreements have been entered into between the parties as to responsibility for the payment of community debts, including what, if any, collateral will secure the payment of the debt.
3. Whether the parties have entered into agreements with creditors through which a community debt will be the sole responsibility of one party.
I. The following form may be used to verify agreements with creditors:
Agreement with creditor
The parties to this agreement include __________________ and ______________________ who are parties to a dissolution of marriage action filed in _____________________ county superior court, Arizona, case number __________________ and __________________ who is a duly authorized representative of ___________________________ (creditor).
The undersigned parties agree that the debt owed by the parties to ___________________ (creditor) is to be disposed of as follows (check one):
___ The debt is the joint responsibility of the parties, with payment to be made on the following terms:________________
___ The balance of the debt is the sole responsibility of _____________________ and the creditor releases ___________________ from any further liability for that debt, with payment to be made on the following terms: ______________________________________________________
___ The debt has been paid in full as of this date.
We the undersigned acknowledge this agreement.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this _____ day of ________,
J. If the parties are not able to agree to a joint debt distribution plan pursuant to subsection H the court may order each party to submit a proposed debt distribution plan to the court. In its orders relating to the division of property the court shall reflect the debt distribution plan approved by the court and shall confirm that any community debts that are made the sole responsibility of one of the parties by agreement with a creditor are the sole responsibility of that party.
K. An agreement with a creditor pursuant to subsection I that assigns or otherwise modifies repayment responsibility for community debts secured by real property located in this state shall include all of the following:
1. A legal description of the real property.
2. A copy of the note and recorded security instrument, the repayment of which is to be assigned or modified by the agreement with a creditor.
3. A written and notarized acknowledgment that is executed by all parties to the debt, including the lender, and that states one of the following:
(a) The terms for the repayment of the debt remain unchanged.
(b) The terms for the repayment of the debt have been modified and, beginning on the date of the execution of the acknowledgment, the creditor has agreed that one of the debtors assumes the sole responsibility for the debt and that the other debtor is released from any further liability on the debt.
(c) The debt is paid in full and all parties to the debt are released from any further liability.
L. An agreement executed pursuant to subsection K shall be recorded by either party in the county in which the real property is located.
M. After an agreement is recorded pursuant to subsection L, either party may request that on payment of the title company's fees for the document a title company authorized to do business in this state provide the requesting party with a lien search report or other documentary evidence of liens and other agreements of record in the title to the property.
N. If a party fails to comply with an order to pay debts, the court may enter orders transferring property of that spouse to compensate the other party. If the court finds that a party is in contempt as to an order to pay community debts, the court may impose appropriate sanctions under the law. A party must bring an action to enforce an order to pay a debt pursuant to this subsection within two years after the date in which the debt should have been paid in full.
O. Within thirty days after receipt of a written request for information from a spouse who is a party to a dissolution of marriage or legal separation action, which includes the court and cause case number of the action, a creditor shall provide the balance and account status of any debts of either or both spouses identified by account number for which the requesting spouse may be liable to the creditor.
Sec. 2. Section 25-319, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-319. Maintenance; computation factors
A. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse for any of the following reasons if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse's reasonable needs.
2. Is unable to be self‑sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self‑sufficient.
3. Contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
4. Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self‑sufficient.
B. The maintenance order shall be in an amount and for a period of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors, including:
1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
4. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse's needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.
6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse's income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
8. The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.
9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse's ability to meet that spouse's own needs independently.
10. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.
11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
12. The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
13. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.
C. If both parties agree, the maintenance order and a decree of dissolution of marriage or of legal separation may state that its maintenance terms shall not be modified.
D. Except as provided in subsection C of this section or section 25‑317, subsection G, the court shall maintain continuing jurisdiction over the issue of maintenance for the period of time maintenance is awarded.
Sec. 3. Section 25-323.02, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-323.02. Domestic relations committee; membership; duties; report
A. The domestic relations committee is established consisting of the following members:
1. Two noncustodial parents who are knowledgeable in domestic relations issues and who are not judges or commissioners. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint one of these members.
2. Two custodial parents who are knowledgeable in domestic relations issues and who are not judges or commissioners. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint one of these members.
3. Two parents who have joint custody, who are knowledgeable in domestic relations issues and who are not judges or commissioners. The president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each appoint one of these members.
4. Two parents who are knowledgeable in domestic relations issues, who are not judges or commissioners and who are appointed by the governor.
5. Two active or retired judges or commissioners or both from the domestic relations department of the superior court who are appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court. One of these members shall be from an urban county and one member shall be from a rural county.
6. One domestic relations attorney who is appointed by the governor.
7. One clerk of the superior court who is appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
8. A professional domestic relations mediator who is appointed by the president of the senate.
9. A psychologist experienced in performing child custody evaluations who is appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
10. A domestic relations educator who is experienced in matters relating to parenting or divorce classes and who is appointed by the governor.
11. A representative of a statewide domestic violence coalition who is appointed by the president of the senate.
12. A representative of a conciliation court who is appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
13. A marriage and family therapist who is knowledgeable in domestic relations issues and who is appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
14. A representative from a faith‑based organization who is knowledgeable in domestic relations issues and who is appointed by the governor.
15. An administrative officer of the supreme court who is appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
16. A member of a law enforcement agency in this state who is appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
17. A member of an agency that advocates for children who is appointed by the president of the senate.
18. One member of the family law section of the state bar of Arizona who is appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
19. Two four members of the senate, who not more than two of whom are members of different the same political parties party. The president of the senate shall appoint these members and shall designate one of them as the cochairperson.
20. Two Four members of the house of representatives, who not more than two of whom are members of different the same political parties party. The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint these members and designate one of them as the cochairperson.
B. The committee shall prepare a statewide plan for an integrated family court with comprehensive subject matter jurisdiction over all matters involving the family and submit this plan to the governor, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and the chief justice of the supreme court on or before December 31, 2002.
C. The committee shall prepare an annual written report regarding recommended changes to the domestic relations statutes, rules and procedures and other related issues designed to lead to a reform of the state's domestic relations statutes. The committee shall submit this report to the governor, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives and the chief justice of the supreme court on or before December 31 of each year and shall provide a copy of the report to the secretary of state and the director of the Arizona state library, archives and public records.
D. The committee shall develop minimum training standards on domestic violence and child abuse issues for persons conducting an investigation or preparing a report concerning child custodial arrangements pursuant to section 25-406. The committee shall approve the standards on or before December 31, 2004. The committee may modify the standards on or before December 31 of each year.
D. E. Nonlegislative members of the committee are not eligible to receive compensation but are eligible for reimbursement of expenses pursuant to title 38, chapter 4, article 2.
Sec. 4. Title 25, chapter 4, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 25-403.01, to read:
25-403.01. Sexual offenders; murderers; custody and parenting time
Unless the court finds that there is no significant risk to the child and states its reasons in writing, The court shall not grant a person sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child or unsupervised parenting time with a child if the person:
1. Is a registered sex offender.
2. Has been convicted of MURDER in the first degree and the victim of the murder was the other parent of the child who is the subject of the order. In making its finding, the court may consider, among other factors, the FOLLOWING:
(a) Credible evidence that the convicted parent was a victim of domestic violence, as defined in section 13-3601, committed by the murdered parent.
(b) Testimony of an expert witness that the convicted parent suffered TRAUMA from abuse committed by the murdered parent.
Sec. 5. Section 25-406, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-406. Investigations and reports
A. In contested custody proceedings, and in other custody proceedings if a parent or the child's custodian so requests, the court may order an investigation and report concerning custodial arrangements for the child. The investigation and report may be made by the court social service agency, the staff of the juvenile court, the local probation or welfare department, or a private agency employed by the court for the purpose person. The report must include a written affirmation by the person completing the report that the person has met the training requirements prescribed in subsection C.
B. If an investigation or report is ordered pursuant to this section or if the court appoints a family court advisor, the court shall allocate cost based on the financial circumstances of both parties.
C. beginning on July 1, 2006, the court shall require any person who conducts an investigation or prepares a report pursuant to this section to receive training that meets the minimum standards prescribed by the domestic relations committee, established pursuant to section 25-323.02 as follows:
1. Six initial hours of domestic violence training.
2. Six initial hours of child abuse training.
3. Four subsequent hours of training every two years on domestic violence and child abuse.
D. A person that has completed professional training to become licensed or certified may use that training to completely or partially fulfill the requirements in subsection C if the training included at least six hours each on domestic violence and child abuse if the training meets the minimum standards prescribed by the domestic relations committee. Subsequent professional training in these subject matters may be used to partially or completely fulfill the training requirements prescribed in subsection C if the training meets the minimum standards prescribed by the domestic relations committee.
E. A physician who is licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 13 or 17 is exempt from the training requirements prescribed in subsection C.
B. F. In preparing his a report concerning a child, the investigator may consult any person who may have information about the child or his the child's potential custodial arrangements.
C. G. The court shall mail the investigator's report to counsel at least ten days prior to the hearing. The investigator shall make available to counsel the names and addresses of all persons whom the investigator has consulted. Any party to the proceeding may call for examination of the investigator and any person whom he has consulted by the investigator.
Sec. 6. Curriculum working group; membership; recommendations; termination
The domestic relations committee shall establish a working group comprised of persons interested in making recommendations to the committee by November 30, 2004, regarding the curriculum being developed pursuant to section 25-323.02, Arizona Revised Statutes. The working group terminates on December 31, 2004.
APPROVED BY THE GOVERNOR JUNE 3, 2004.
FILED IN THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE JUNE 3, 2004.