Domestic Violence and Legal Decision-Making

Just as an Order of Protection can have implications regarding possession of firearms, so too can this Order have an immediate effect on parenting time and legal decision-making. When granting an Order of Protection, the judge (not necessarily a family court judge) can list the child as a protected party which will prohibit the Defendant from having any contact with that child. A family court judge can enter orders that superceede this limitation on contact, but getting in front of a family court judge often takes a while.

In addition to the impact on parenting time, an Order of Protection can also have unforseen consequences on legal decision-making (formerly custody). First, if the parties are not able to communicate, it will be diffcult for them to share joint legal decision-making, which must be “logistically possible.” More importantly, Arizona law states that legal decision-making shall not be granted to the perptrator of domestic violence if there is a finding of significant domestic violence or a significant history of doemstic violence. Even if there is no finding of “significant” domestic violence, there is a presumption against joint legal decision-making when a parent has been found to have committed an act (one) of domestic violence.

If you are served with an Order of Protection and you request a hearing, and the Order of Protection is upheld, it is likely that your family court judge will consider this to be a finding of another Court that an act of domestic violence has occurred. This finding that an act of domestic violence has been comitted may also be considered in determining whether there is a significant history of domestic violence. As a result, you need to be adequately prepared with witnesses and testimony at the Order of Protection Hearing, and you may want to consider holding off on requesting a hearing until you have all of the evidence needed to present your case to the Court. A Plaintiff also needs to be fully prepared for the Order of Protection Hearing, with exhibits and witnesses, as this hearing may likely have an affect on the family case.

As a result, it is important for you to get legal advice and representation before the Order of Protection, not after. If you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30-minute