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Changes in Family Law Court Means One Parent Could Make Parenting Decisions
By Mitchell Reichman
While Arizona judges had been making some parenting decisions in family law cases for many years, that recently shifted due to recent Arizona Court of Appeals decisions that have far reaching impacts on parents that cannot agree on decisions concerning their children.
In the past, family law judges could appoint professionals, particularly mental health professionals for children. The appointment orders often empowered that professional to self-reappoint, meaning they could be involved longer. This sometimes stretched to include providing therapy for either a parent or child, co-parenting therapists, interventionists and even parenting coordinators. New rules and the new rulings changed this long-standing authority and set new limits. The family law judge currently has no authority to appoint a treating professional for a child. That choice is for the decision-making parent.
In turning more power back to the parents, the high courts also clarified decision making orders and what powers the decision-making parent has. If a court order directs one parent to be the final decision maker only after good faith consideration of the views of the other parent and best efforts to reach consensus, it really is giving sole…
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