House Engrossed Senate Bill




State of Arizona


Fiftieth Legislature

First Regular Session












Amending sections 25-351, 25‑381.17 and 25-381.18, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to marriage.





Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1.  Section 25-351, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE25-351.  Domestic relations education; plan; administration

A.  The superior court in each county shall adopt and implement an educational program for the purpose of educating persons about the impacts that impact of divorce, the restructuring of families and judicial involvement have on adults and children.

B.  The supreme court shall adopt minimum standards for educational programs.  The presiding judge of the superior court in each county shall submit an educational program plan to the supreme court for approval.  The plan shall be consistent with the minimum standards that are adopted by the supreme court, including the length and nature of the program, the qualifications of program providers and the means by which the program will be evaluated and maintained.  Beginning January 1, 2013, these standards shall require that educational programs at a minimum include instruction related to all of the following:

1.  The emotional, psychological, financial, physical and other short‑term and long-term effects of divorce on adults and children.

2.  Options available as alternatives to divorce.

3.  Resources available to improve or strengthen marriage.

4.  The legal process of divorce and options available for mediation.

5.  Resources available after divorce.

C.  Each program shall also include information regarding the notification requirements of section 25‑403.05, subsection B.

C.  D.  The presiding judge of the superior court or a judge who is designated by the presiding judge shall administer the program in each county and may provide or contract with political subdivisions in this state or private entities to provide the program to participants who are required to attend. END_STATUTE

Sec. 2.  Section 25-381.17, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE25-381.17.  Orders; duration of effectiveness; reconciliation agreement

A.  The judge of the conciliation court shall have full power to make, alter, modify, and enforce all orders or temporary orders, orders for custody of children, restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and orders affecting possession of property, as may appear just and equitable, but such orders shall not be effective for more than sixty days from the filing of the petition the period of the stay under section 25‑381.18, unless the parties mutually consent to a continuation of such time.

B.  Any reconciliation agreement between the parties may be reduced to writing and, with the consent of the parties, a court order may be made requiring the parties to comply fully therewith. END_STATUTE

Sec. 3.  Section 25-381.18, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE25-381.18.  Dissolution of marriage; legal separation; annulment; stay of right to file; jurisdiction for pending actions

A.  During a period beginning on the filing of a petition for conciliation and continuing until sixty days after the filing of the petition for conciliation, neither spouse shall file any action for annulment, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, and, on the filing of a petition for conciliation, proceedings then pending in the superior court are stayed and the case shall be transferred to the conciliation court for hearing and further disposition as provided in this article.  All restraining, support, maintenance or custody orders issued by the superior court remain in full force and effect until vacated or modified by the conciliation court or until they expire by their own terms.

B.  If either party wishes to extend the stay prescribed pursuant to subsection A, that party must file a petition with the court that states the basis for the extension and includes a plan for reconciliation or a counseling schedule.  The court may grant a reasonable extension of up to one hundred twenty days if the moving party establishes good cause for the extension.  The court shall not grant an extension if the other party objects with good cause.

B.  C.  If, however, after the expiration of the period prescribed in subsection A and any extension granted pursuant to subsection B, the controversy between the spouses has not been terminated, either spouse may institute proceedings for annulment of marriage, dissolution of marriage or legal separation by filing in the clerk's office additional pleadings complying with the requirements relating to annulment of marriage, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, respectively, or either spouse may proceed with the action previously stayed, and the conciliation court has full jurisdiction to hear, try and determine the action for annulment of marriage, dissolution of marriage or legal separation and to retain jurisdiction of the case for further hearings on decrees or orders to be made.  The conciliation provisions of this article may be used in regard to postdissolution problems concerning maintenance support, parenting time or contempt or for modification based on changed conditions in the discretion of the conciliation court.

C.  D.  On the filing of an action for annulment, dissolution of marriage or legal separation and after the expiration of sixty days from the service or the acceptance of service of process on or by the defendant, neither spouse without the consent of the other may file a petition invoking the jurisdiction of the conciliation court, as long as the domestic relations case remains pending, unless it appears to the court that the filing will not delay the orderly processes of the pending action, in which event the court may accept the petition and the filing of the petition has the same effect as the filing of any such petition within such sixty days after the service or acceptance of process. END_STATUTE