Modifying An Arizona Custody Rule 69 Agreement
The Ins & Outs Of Modifying a 69 Agreement In Arizona
Our Arizona Family Lawyers take a look at Arizona Rule 69 agreements and discuss the ins and outs of modifying the agreement. If you are in need of assistance with a family law case in Arizona. Please give our Phoenix divorce attorneys a call for a free consultation. Our experienced AZ family lawyers provide the level of confidence and calm that you want when navigating your case.
If you have an active divorce or custody matter in Arizona, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of a Rule 69 agreement. A Rule 69 agreement is binding in the eyes of a family law judge, so it’s important that you fully understand what this means before signing. A Rule 69 agreement will have a long-lasting impact on the lives of you and your children once signed. In fact, its terms could remain in place until your children turn 18 years old. Read on to learn more about Rule 69 agreements in Arizona, and schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced custody lawyers if you have additional questions.
What Is a Rule 69 Agreement?
Rule 69 simply refers to the laws that state what is required of a family law agreement in Arizona. It can fully or partially set out how certain issues in family law should be addressed, letting the parties avoid going to trial.
One of three requirements must be met for a family law agreement to be valid and binding in Arizona.
- First, the agreement must be in writing. It must be signed, either by the parties themselves, or by their attorneys.
- Second, the agreement can be read before a judge, commissioner, judge pro tempore, or a court reporter.
- Alternatively, if that requirement isn’t met, the agreement must be recorded in the presence of a court-appointed mediator or a court-appointed settlement conference counselor. Once approved by the court, an agreement that meets any of these requirements is legally binding. Anyone who challenges the agreement will bear the burden of proving any defects in the agreement.
Can The Rule 69 Parenting Time Agreement Be Broken?
For a Rule 69 Parenting Time Agreement to be broken, or invalidated, the party seeking to challenge the agreement bears the burden of proving that the agreement should not be enforced. This can be risky- the court sometimes forces a party who challenges a Rule 69 agreement to pay the attorney’s fees of the other party if the challenge is unsuccessful. Furthermore, the judge will only invalidate a Rule 69 parenting time agreement under circumstances.
For example, one party may have been coerced or under duress when the agreement was signed. One party may claim that they didn’t actually sign the agreement, or didn’t give their attorney permission to sign the agreement on their behalf.
Modifying a Rule 69 Agreement in practice may actually not be in the children’s best interests. Whereas, it could otherwise be unfair or inequitable, or circumstances could have changed so much since the agreement was finalized that the agreement needs to be changed as well.
Consequences Of Breaking The Rule 69 Agreement
There are several consequences you can face if you fail to abide by the terms of a Rule 69 Agreement. You could be held in contempt of court, which can result in fines and even jail time. If the other parent has to take you to court to enforce a Rule 69 agreement, you could be forced to pay for their attorney’s fees. One of the most serious consequences of breaking a Rule 69 Agreement is the impact it will have in future Mesa custody proceedings. If you have shown the court that you consistently fail to follow orders that you agreed to, the judge may feel it necessary to modify the agreement to reduce your role in your children’s lives. Both physical custody, or parenting time, and legal custody, or legal decision-making, could be at stake.
Arizona Custody Rule 69 Agreement Modification
The rules for modifying a Rule 69 Agreement are set out by Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-411. First, at least one year must have passed since the previous orders were finalized. If the child is in immediate danger, the court will make an exception and conduct an emergency custody modification hearing at any time. A modification hearing can be held 6 months from the previous orders if one parent is refusing to abide by the agreement’s terms without endangering the child.
Just because the waiting period requirement is met doesn’t necessarily mean the judge will grant a modification to a Rule 69 agreement. Judges want to encourage parents to work out most disagreements on their own without wasting court time or resources. The judge will usually only overturn court orders if there is a compelling reason to do so. One reason is that one parent learned new material facts that were unknown at the time that the Rule 69 agreement was signed.
Another possibility is because one parent is in the military and is being deployed overseas. The judge can also grant a custody modification if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. But family law judges are rigid in what they consider “substantial and continuing.” Therefore, you should consider hiring an Avondale family law attorney if you want to modify your Rule 69 agreement to help you present the significance of your change in circumstances as convincingly as possible.
Domestic Violence & Rule 69 Agreement Modifications
Domestic violence, whether committed against a party or a child involved in the Rule 69 agreement, is a serious issue that the court needs to take into consideration. Additionally, domestic violence is automatic grounds for an emergency child custody modification hearing, which bypasses the typical one-year waiting period between custody modifications.
If domestic violence has occurred after a Rule 69 agreement is finalized, the court may see this as grounds to modify the agreement. Usually, the party challenging a Rule 69 agreement will have the burden of proving why it should be invalidated. But if one party can prove that the other party has committed domestic violence since the Rule 69 agreement was signed, the burden will shift to the party who committed domestic violence to prove that continued parenting time won’t endanger the children or be detrimental to their development.
If the parent doesn’t meet that burden, the court will put restrictions on parenting time to protect the children. This could be reducing parenting time, or taking it away entirely. Each Rule 69 Agreement is unique. Hiring an experienced Arizona Family Attorney is important.
Keep in mind, it isn’t uncommon for judges to order supervision, whether during custody transfers or visitation, in these types of situations. Seeking the assistance of an experienced Mesa Family Lawyer is going to be beneficial. Our AZ Family Law Lawyers offer free consults. Contact our family law office today.
Affordable Legal Guidance & Representation For Arizona Rule 69 Agreements
Signing a Rule 69 agreement could affect your parental rights for years to come, and is extremely difficult to overturn. A skilled Arizona Rule 69 family law attorney will make sure that you fully understand the terms of any agreement you sign, and that the agreement will be valid and binding in a court of law. An even better attorney will negotiate and advocate for more issues being settled the way that is best for your family.
However, custody disputes are notoriously expensive, so you may be wondering if you will need to compromise on quality in order to afford legal representation. Arizona Family Lawyers believe that experienced family law representation should come with fair rates and budget-friendly payment plan options. Our AZ divorce attorneys have helped hundreds of people in Maricopa County with Rule 69 Agreements and Divorce.
Our Arizona family law team also believe that you should be able to interview as many family law attorneys as you want so that you know you end up with the best fit for you. Plus, our experienced Arizona family law attorneys offer free consultations. Therefore, you can be confident in your choice of attorney, risk-free. To get started, call us or use our online form to request your free consultation today. Our AZ Family Lawyers are ready to assist.
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