House Engrossed


custody; parenting time; child preference





State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Fifty-fifth Legislature

Second Regular Session









An Act


amending sections 25-403 and 25-405, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to legal decision-making and parenting time.





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

Section 1. Section 25-403, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE25-403. Legal decision-making; best interests of child

A. The court shall determine legal decision-making and parenting time, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all factors that are relevant to the child's physical and emotional well-being, including:

1. The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.

2. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent or parents, the child's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest.

3. The child's adjustment to home, school and community.

4. If the child is of suitable age and maturity, The wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time. If the child is at least fourteen years of age and is sufficiently mature so that the child can intelligently and voluntarily express a preference for one parent, the child has the right to select the parent WHOM the child chooses regarding custody and parenting time. The child's selection is considered presumptive unless the court determines that the child's wishes are not in the best interest of the child. If the child is under fourteen years of age but is of suitable age and maturity, the court shall strongly consider the child's wishes regarding custody and parenting time unless the court determines that the child's wishes are not in the best interest of the child.

5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.

6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.

7. Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.

8. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.

9. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.

10. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title.

11. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.

B. In a contested legal decision-making or parenting time case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child. END_STATUTE

Sec. 2. Section 25-405, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

START_STATUTE25-405. Interviews by court; professional assistance; advocate

A. The court may, on the child's request, shall interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to the child's custodian and as to parenting time. 

B. The court may seek the advice of professional personnel, whether or not employed by the court on a regular basis. The advice given shall be in writing and shall be made available by the court to counsel, on request, under such terms as the court determines.  Counsel may examine as a witness any professional personnel consulted by the court, unless that right is waived. END_STATUTE