Family Law Court-Appointed Advisors in Pinal County
Arizona law allows for a non-attorney individual to be appointed as an advisor for a family law case. A court-appointed advisor can become necessary for several reasons. The court-appointed advisor will conduct interviews, review private records, and more to make a recommendation regarding child custody to the court. A court-appointed advisor does not act in a representative or attorney capacity. If a court-appointed advisor is assigned to your case, it may feel like things have gotten out of control. A skillful Pinal County family law attorney can help you regain control of a stressful family law situation and work out a solution that suits your family’s needs. Schedule your free consultation with our firm today by clicking here or calling 480-470-1504.
Family Law Rule 10.1
Court-appointed advisors are statutorily defined in Rule 10.1 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. By law, the court can appoint an advisor for any reason deemed appropriate. The court will sometimes appoint an advisor if the child is very young or has special needs which could make it harder for the judge to discern their best interests. If either or both parents struggle with their mental health, this could also cause the judge to appoint an advisor. Either or both parents could also have a history of domestic violence or substance abuse. The judge might simply appoint an advisor because the spouses are high-conflict in a way that might interfere with their ability to communicate their child’s best interest.
A court-appointed advisor must be qualified in compliance with A.R.S. § 25-406. When the advisor is appointed to the case, the court should issue an appointment order. The appointment order should state the reasons behind the appointment. It should also describe exactly how long the appointment will last. It should include the advisor’s compensation, the allocation of their fees, and which party will be responsible for paying which portion of it. The language within the appointment order should authorize the advisor to have immediate access to the child. It should also include language authorizing the advisor to have access to privileged and confidential information and documents regarding the child. It should also have language requiring the child’s parent, legal guardian, or custodian to provide such records to the advisor when requested.
A court-appointed advisor’s role in a Pinal County family law case has limitations and restrictions. Court-appointed advisors aren’t attorneys and shouldn’t take actions normally reserved for licensed attorneys. Even if the court-appointed advisor is a licensed attorney, they will be limited in scope to the actions that an advisor who is not a licensed attorney can take. The advisor’s job is to make recommendations to the court based on the child’s best interest. The advisor can be deposed or be asked to testify at a hearing. The advisor does not make opening or closing statements in court, examine witnesses, or engage in discovery for either party. The advisor should also refrain from ex-parte communication with the court unless authorized by the order. If you have more questions or require additional information about court-appointed advisors in Pinal County family law matters, click here or call 480-470-1504 for your free consultation.
Who Pays for the Court-Appointed Advisor?
In Pinal County, Arizona, family law judges will often order both parents to split the costs of a court-appointed advisor equally. Just like any other job, a court-appointed advisor expends resources and needs to be paid for the work they perform on family law cases. However, the judge may order one party to shoulder most or all of the costs under some circumstances. It isn’t unheard of for a judge to make such a ruling when one party has a much higher income than the other, such as if one parent spent most of their relationship as a stay-at-home parent. One parent could also be solely responsible for making the advisor necessary, making them the only party who is financially on the hook. If you are concerned about being held responsible for an unfair share of your court-appointed advisor, call our Pinal County family law firm at 480-470-1504 or click here.
Will a Court-Appointed Advisor Help or Hurt My Situation?
An advisor isn’t appointed to a family law case to improve either of the parents’ situations- it is to maintain the child’s best interest. But if your main priority is your child’s best interests, you should get along well with the court-appointed advisor. It’s important that you do- the Pinal County family court system fully expects you to be respectful and cooperative with your court-appointed advisor. Therefore, whether a court-appointed advisor will help or hurt your situation will depend, in part, on your behaviors and actions. Being polite during your interviews and other interactions with the court-appointed advisor can go far, especially if your ex has little patience or a quick temper.
It is preferable to have the court-appointed advisor tell the judge in your case that you are a thoughtful and cooperative parent than one who might interfere with your child’s relationship with their other parent. Interfering with your child’s relationship with their other parent or with the court proceedings, in general, can be a factor used against you in child custody determinations. And dealing with an unfavorable ruling after a professional opinion from a court-appointed advisor isn’t meant to be easy. A judge will not be eager to overturn their custody ruling, especially if it involved the time, cost, and effort of a court-appointed advisor. Absent the child being in danger, a Pinal County family law judge shouldn’t modify custody orders unless at least 12 months have passed since the last orders and there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Even if the judge were willing to modify the orders over your ex’s objections, this process can be stressful and costly. Therefore, if a court-appointed advisor is involved in your case, you should do everything in your power to obtain a favorable child custody order. Let our experienced Pinal County family law team assess your situation for free by clicking here or calling 480-470-1504.
Have Your Pinal County Family Law Situation Reviewed by One of Our Experienced Attorneys, Free of Charge
Family law matters are usually quite stressful because they can mean the breakdown of a family unit. Because different jurisdictions can follow different laws, this can mean different outcomes even under very similar circumstances. When you bring a court-appointed advisor into the fold, things can become even more complicated. It’s important to remember that the court-appointed advisor is not your attorney or legal representative- the court-appointed advisor is looking out for the child in question. If you want legal counsel to guide you through your family law matter, you will need to go out and find it yourself. You will need to look even harder if you want to make sure you have an experienced skillful lawyer who is the right fit for your needs. My AZ Lawyers team provides full-service family law representation in San Tan Valley, Queen Creek, Florence, and more. Start your search with our dedicated Pinal County family lawyers- contact us through our online form or call 480-470-1504 for your free phone consultation.
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