Bill Pending Before Arizona Legislature Regarding Burden of Proof in Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time Matters
The current Arizona legislative session began on January 13, 2020. Prior to that date, there were at least 284 bills introduced for the legislators’ consideration, and one of which, House Bill 2153, pertains to the standard of evidence that is applied in family law matters.
The current statute, Arizona Revised Statute § 25-103, provides as follows:
- It is declared that the public policy of this state and the general purposes of this title are:
- To promote strong families;
- To promote strong family values.
- It is also the declared public policy of this state and the general purpose of this title that absent evidence to the contrary, it is in a child’s best interest:
- To have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents.
- To have both parents participate in decision-making about the child.
- A court shall apply the provisions of this title in a manner that is consistent with this section.
House Bill 2153 addresses what standard of evidence or burden of proof should be necessary to support of finding that it is not in a child’s best interest to have substantial, frequent, meaningful, and continuing parenting time with both parents and for both parents participate in decision-making about the child.
The burden of proof currently applied in family law matters is that of a preponderance of the evidence; plainly put, a preponderance of the evidence generally means proving that something is simply more likely than not (or a 50.1% probability). However, House Bill 2153 will amend the statute to read that clear and convincing evidence is required. Clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard than a preponderance of the evidence. To meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence, it generally must be proven that something must be highly more probable to be true than not (akin to something closer to 75% probability).
The attorneys and staff at Dodge & Vega, PLC are devoted to staying informed of the most up-to-date information that affect family law litigation. As such, we will be monitoring the status of this bill and any other pertinent bills that will introduced later in the legislative session.
If you have any questions about new changes in Arizona Family Law, then contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our firm and know your rights. 480-656-8333.
Kevin Whitacre, Dodge & Vega PLC
Dodge & Vega PLC founded by Ben Dodge, attorney at law. Ben owns and manages a law firm of Affordable Arizona Bankruptcy, Family Law, and Personal Injury Lawyers. He is a nationally certified trial attorney, entrepreneur, endurance Athlete, and extreme Ultra Cyclist.
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