When a Trial is Required
- What if we disagree on everything?
If you and the other party disagree on the relief asked for in the Petition for Dissolution you may need to consult with an attorney for advice. You may also want to file a response within the required timeframe.
If after consultation with an attorney and/or attending a Resolution Management Conference, an Expedited Differentiated Case Management Conference, or any other court hearing, you still cannot agree, you may need to ask for a Trial.
In cases where a Petition for Dissolution and an answer / response have been filed with the court, you can file a Motion to Set. This Motion tells the Court that you want to go forward with the trial and that discovery is completed.
- What is a Trial?
A trial in your case will decide the issues that you and the other party have not resolved. The primary issues to be resolved in any family court case involving one or more children include a determination of 1) Legal decision-making and parenting time rights with respect to any minor child; and 2) An appropriate child support order including provisions for medical insurance, medical costs of all children not covered by insurance, and an allocation of any federal tax exemptions applicable to the minor children; and 3) Whether any party should be awarded any reasonable attorney's fees incurred in this matter. If your case is a dissolution or separation of a marriage, the court will also determine: 1) An equitable division of community property; 2) Responsibility for payment of any community debts; and 3) Spousal maintenance (previously known as alimony)
- How do I prepare for a Trial?
1. You Must Attend the Parent Education Program
If your case involves one or more minor children natural to or adopted by you and the other party you are required to attend a parent education program in accordance with A.R.S. §25-351. You can schedule your class online via Conciliation Court.
2. You Must Complete Disclosure and Discovery Requirements
You and the opposing party are required to file and provide the assigned judge with a copy of a Joint Pretrial Statement pursuant to Rule 76 (C), Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, no later than 20 days prior to trial. The Joint Pre-trial Statement shall include the following attachments:
You are also required to promptly comply with all requests for relevant information in this case made by the opposing party. In this regard, you are directed to sign all necessary consents and releases reasonably required to obtain any relevant documents or records from any person, company, or institution possessing any relevant information.
If a party is forced to incur attorney's fees or other costs to obtain documents or records by subpoena or other legal process after reasonable request of the other party to obtain such information in a more efficient or economical manner, the Court will consider a request for payment or reimbursement of such fees and costs at the time of trial.
3. You must complete the Joint Pre-Trial Statement
- A current Affidavit of Financial Information completed by each party together with a written statement as to whether the parties stipulate that the affidavits of both parties may be considered as testimony by the court as if marked as exhibits and entered into evidence pursuant to In Re Marriage of Kells, 182 Ariz. 480, 897 P.2d 1366 (App. 1995).
- A current Parent's Worksheet for Child Support completed by each party pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines. (ARFLP 76 (C) (2) (b))
- If there are disputed legal decision-making or parenting time issues, a specific Parenting Plan proposal for legal decision-making and parenting time.
- If the parties have a natural or an adopted minor child in common, proof of compliance with the Parent Education Program requirements of A.R.S. §25-351 et seq.
- If there are disputed issues regarding division of property, a current and detailed inventory and appraisal of property and assets of the parties on a form called Inventory of Property and Debt, together with a summary proposal by each party as to how the property and assets should be divided. If possible, the court prefers a one-page statement of all property except personal property items valued at less than $500 each.
- If there is a disputed issue regarding the payment of attorney's fees by either party, an affidavit of the attorney's fees claimed submitted in accordance with the requirements of Schweiger v. China Doll Restaurant, Inc., 138 Ariz. 183, 673 P.2d 927 (App. 1983).
The failure of counsel or any party to appear at the time of trial, or to timely present the Joint Pretrial Statement in proper form, including each and every attachment required, shall, in the absence of good cause shown, result in the imposition of any and all available sanctions pursuant to AZRFLP Rule 71 (A) including proceeding to hear this matter by default based upon the evidence presented by the appearing party.
4. You Must Have Your Exhibits
If either party has exhibits to be marked, arrangements shall be made with the Clerk of Judicial Division that will try your case at least five days prior to trial to schedule a time to deliver said exhibits to the Clerk. Duplicate exhibits shall not be presented. The parties shall also provide the Court and the adverse party with a separate copy of all exhibits.
The parties shall indicate in the Joint Pretrial Statement which exhibits they have agreed will be admissible at trial as well as any specific objections that will be made to any exhibit if offered at trial which is not agreed to be admitted. Reserving all objections at the time of trial will not be permitted. At the time of trial, all exhibits that the parties have agreed will be admitted and all exhibits for which no specific objection is stated in the Joint Pretrial Statement shall be summarily admitted.
5. Notify the Court if you reach a Settlement
Counsel and the parties are reminded of their obligation to give prompt notice of any settlement to the Court as required by Rule 70, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. If you reach an agreement on all issues you must submit a Consent Decree to the Court.