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Where To Find Family Court Cases In Arizona

Family courts in Arizona were created to resolve matters concerning domestic matters such as divorces, annulments, adoption, etc. within the state. The records, files, documents, and transcripts created and filed during the legal or court proceedings are called Family Court Records. The Superior Court in the Arizona court system creates and maintains family court as it has general jurisdiction over such cases. Hence, the court provides access to these family court case information to public members on request.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

What Is Family Law In Arizona

The laws guiding family matters in Arizona are governed by Title 25 (Marital and Domestic Relations) of the Arizona Revised Statutes. The law addresses specific aspects of family relations in different chapters and sections, namely:

Chapter 1: Marriage

Chapter 2: Property and Contract Rights

Chapter 3: Dissolution of Marriage

Chapter 4. Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time

Chapter 5. Family Support Duties

Chapter 6. Maternity and Paternity Proceedings

Chapter 7. Covenant Marriage

Chapter 8. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Chapter 9. Uniform Interstate Family Support Chapter 10. Legitimacy of Children

What Are Family Court Cases And Records In Arizona

Typically, all family court cases in Arizona address one or more situations contained in the Title 25 of Arizona Revised Statutes. These cases are primarily handled by the Arizona Superior Courts. The documentation made during the resolution of these cases becomes family court records. Family cases involve domestic relations issues, such as domestic abuse or violence, divorces, and many more. The most common family cases resolved in Arizona courts include:

  • Dissolution of marriage (Divorce, Annulment or Separation)
  • Child custody, paternity, and child support.
  • Name changes
  • Juvenile matters
  • Child abandonment
  • Guardianship
  • Adoption
  • Protection orders
  • Emancipation

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Are Family Court Cases Public Records In Arizona

Court records generated within Arizona are subject to the Arizona Freedom of Information Act. This act authorized public access to records on request. However, not all family court cases are open to the public because they are usually more private than other civil case types. All court records, including records of family cases, are open to the public unless sealed or exempted by Rule 123 of the Arizona Superior Court Rules. This means that some domestic relations and juvenile cases containing personal identifying information are sealed. Also, data gathered in the course of evaluation of the parties in the case are sealed and exempt from public disclosure unless authorized by court order. Such details can include juvenile records, clinical and medical reports, social security numbers, reports detailing treatments of juveniles, adoption records, financial and credit reports, tax returns, juvenile disciplinary reports, and more. Generally, details pertaining to minors are sealed and inaccessible to the public.

How Do I Find Family Court Records In Arizona

The Superior Court generates and maintains family court records in Arizona and is mandated by law to provide access to them on request. Requests to obtain family court records must be directed to the court clerk responsible for maintaining these records. Requesters are expected to provide enough details necessary to assist location of the records. Depending on the county where the case was heard, inquirers may be able to make requests online, by mail, or in-person.

Generally, querying parties requesting public family court records in Arizona are required to state the purpose of their requests, verbally or otherwise. If the court clerk determines that the stated purposes will lead to eventual misuse of public records or is an abuse of the right to receive public records, the request will be denied.

If the request is granted, the court will charge a reasonable fee required to make the records available.

Note that family court records that are over 50 years old or filed before 1950 are available from the Arizona State Archives.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Do I Find Family Court Records Online?

The Arizona Judicial branch features an online searchable database on its website to enable remote access to court records. However, users should note that not all superior courts in Arizona participate in the unified online database. Registered users may also use the eAccess portal to gather information on cases heard in the Superior courts. Note that only public case documents may be found using the above online portals.

What Is Arizona Custody Law?

Arizona child custody laws guide child custody cases in the state’s family courts. The rules governing the process are contained in Title 25, Chapter 4 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. In addition, the state is compliant with the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). This act was adopted to address overriding child custody laws among different states.

Arizona courts operate using different child custody terminologies. For example, the terms sole custody and joint custody are termed ‘sole legal decision making’ or ‘joint legal decision making’ while child visitation is referred to as parenting time. Due to these changes, Arizona courts do not decide who receives custody of a child, but rather, who will have legal decision-making authority over the ward. As such, one or both parents may have legal decision-making authority depending on the court’s order.

Arizona courts decide on child custody cases by considering the child’s best interests alongside the child’s choice, child’s relationship with each parent, and the mental as well as the physical health of all parties involved.

How To Find Family Court Lawyers In Arizona.

The State Bar of Arizona provides access to justice and legal services through the Hire a Lawyer tool on its website. This directory helps inquirers to search for lawyers by name, city, company, and practice area. For more streamlined results, the inquirers seeking family court lawyers can find legal help by searching using the “Family Law” practice area.

The Supreme Court also offers free Legal Aid Resources via the AZCOURTHELP website.