Rule 68. Conciliation Court
Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of Family Law ProcedureEffective: September 1, 2019
Effective: September 1, 2019
17B A.R.S. Rules Fam.Law Proc., Rule 68
Rule 68. Conciliation Court
(2) Before Filing for Dissolution, Separation, or Annulment. If no petition for dissolution, separation, or annulment is pending, a party may file a petition requesting conciliation services with the clerk or may submit the petition directly to the conciliation court, as established by local rule or administrative order.
(B) Stay. During the 60-day period in subpart (b)(4)(A), neither party may file a petition for dissolution, separation, or annulment. If a party has already filed a petition for dissolution, separation, or annulment, the action is stayed. The court may lift the stay before the expiration of the 60-day period and it may grant an extension as provided in subpart (b)(4)(D). But in no event may more than one stay may be entered during any 12-month period.
(D) Extension of the Stay. If a party wants to extend a stay, the party must ask the court for the extension in writing. The request must provide good cause for the extension and include either a plan for reconciliation or a schedule for services. The court may grant a reasonable extension of no more than 120 days, but it must not grant an extension if the other party has good cause to object to it.
(5) Conference or Hearing. After the conciliation court accepts a petition for conciliation services, the court or a conciliator will schedule individual or joint meetings with the parties. Each party must attend scheduled meetings as the conciliator directs. The person who filed the petition for conciliation services may withdraw the request with the conciliation court's approval. If the parties agree, the conciliation court may retain jurisdiction while reconciliation efforts are continuing. The parties may not participate in alternative dispute resolution under Rule 66 or evaluation services under section (c) until the conciliation court terminates its jurisdiction.
(6) Report. The conciliation court must notify the assigned judge or the conciliation court presiding judge when it concludes conciliation services. The notice should include a recommendation about whether to terminate the conciliation court's jurisdiction. In addition, the notice should disclose whether a party withdrew the petition for conciliation services, whether a party failed to appear for a scheduled meeting, or if the parties reached and signed a written agreement.
(c) Mediation/ADR. All family law cases that involve a dispute over legal decision-making or parenting time are subject to mediation or other alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) process under local rules. Unless the parties agree to private mediation under Rule 67.3, the court must determine whether mediation or ADR services are appropriate in a particular case. The court or conciliation services may deem mediation inappropriate for reasons such as parental unfitness, substance abuse, mental incapacity, domestic violence, or other good cause. The mediator may not conduct any subsequent family assessment or evaluation in the same case.
(1) Commencement. If there is a disagreement between the parties concerning legal decision-making or parenting time, either or both parties may file a motion or request for mediation or ADR services. The requesting party must provide a copy of the request to the assigned judge and the conciliation court. An order for mediation or ADR services may also be made on the court's own motion.
(A) In a proceeding concerning legal decision-making or parenting time, if an order of protection is in effect involving the parties or there is a history of domestic violence between the parties, the court may order mediation or ADR services only if there are policies and procedures in place that protect the victim from harm, harassment, or intimidation.
(B) The court will notify every party in writing or orally in open court before mediation or ADR services that a party may request a waiver of mediation or request that reasonable procedures be in place at the mediation to protect a victim of domestic violence as determined by the court or conciliation services. Neither party is required to appear for mediation pending determination of this issue.
(4) Mediation Conferences. When a matter has been ordered or referred to mediation, conciliation services will schedule one or more individual or joint conferences that each party must attend. The mediator may meet with either or both parties in a confidential conference to determine the appropriateness of mediation before the start of the process. Counsel are not permitted to attend mediation conferences unless approved by the mediator or conciliation court policy. The mediator may permit any person to attend a conference that the mediator believes is appropriate. Any person not a party to the action who attends the mediation must sign an agreement to be bound by the confidentiality provisions of this rule.
(5) Reports to the Court. At the conclusion of a conciliation services mediation, the mediator must file a report with the court describing any agreements, full or partial, the parties reached. The report must also identify the parties' areas of disagreement, but the report must not identify the parties' positions regarding areas of disagreement. If no agreements are reached in mediation, the mediator's report to the court will advise the court only that the mediation was unsuccessful in resolving the dispute.
(A) The parties must sign the agreement and their attorneys, if any, must sign or object to the agreement within 30 days after the mediation. Conciliation services will submit agreements signed by the parties, and approved by their attorneys, if any, to the court for approval. If no timely objection is filed, the agreement will be forwarded to the court with a proposed order for the court's consideration and signature. Upon receipt of an objection, conciliation services will terminate the mediation and issue a memorandum to the court indicating that there is no agreement in the matter.
(A) Notice of Appointments. Conciliation services must notify the parties and counsel, if any, of all scheduled appointments. However, counsel is not permitted to attend these appointments unless the evaluator deems counsel's presence is necessary for the process to be successful. Conciliation services will not reschedule appointments without good cause.
(B) Appearance Required. All parties are required to appear at all scheduled appointments. If one or both parties fail to appear, the evaluator will not proceed but will report to the court the identity of each party who failed to appear. The court may sanction any party who fails to appear for an appointment.
(A) Duty to Prepare a Report. When the assessment or evaluation is complete, conciliation services must provide the court and the parties with a written report but must not file it with the clerk. The court may direct the evaluator to provide an oral report in open court instead of a written report.
(B) Depositions. Conciliation services evaluators may be deposed only by subpoena and with the judge's approval. The judge may set reasonable limits concerning the time, duration, and location for the deposition, the nature of the questions, and the release of conciliation services' files and records.
(f) Other Services; Fees. Conciliation services may approve, establish, or administer other services designed to assist the parties or the court in resolving a dispute, including open negotiation, parenting conferences, or early post-decree conferences. The conciliation court may charge fees to persons participating in these services. The court may defer or waive these fee as provided by statute.
Added Aug. 30, 2018, effective Jan. 1, 2019.
17B A. R. S. Rules Fam. Law Proc., Rule 68, AZ ST RFLP Rule 68
Current with amendments received through 08/15/2020.
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