Glendale, AZ asked in Child Custody, Divorce, Domestic Violence and Family Law for Arizona

Q: How can i request to remove legal decision making rights from DV father abuser granted by judge this past March 2023?

For some ODD reason, during a hearing in family court, the judge believed father and though i retain custodial/residential custody of our 9yr old daughter— my joint legal decision making rights were handed over to father (full legal decision-making) and reason was Judge believed i weaponized OOP and I disobeyed a direct order to turn over child to father - due to a NEW OOP being issued (no contact). Judge believes father that OOP was “fake” and obtained solely to avoid having to obey a court order. Father has years of OOPs and documented serial DV. Father haas NEVER lived with us long enough to create a bond with minor child. Father has been inappropriate with minor child. Child is traumatized and now on psych meds. Father just obtained court order to FORCE our child to attend a muslim school. Should i file a NEW motion to request a hearing for NEW TEMP ORDERS? Motion to remove legal-decision making rights? Petition to sever parental rights? Based on abandonment and child abuse?

1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen M Vincent
Stephen M Vincent
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: I certainly understand how difficult it can be when a judge makes a ruling that is not at all in your child's best interests. I certainly do not believe that you should have lose legal decision-making.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do right now.

If the order came out in March, your deadline to appeal came and went in April. You're now in the one-year waiting period before you can file to modify legal decision-making. However, IF he abuses legal decision-making, you can petition to modify after six months. Unfortunately, since he has full decision-making, Father does get to pick the school.

There is also an exception if there is an emergency. You mention father being inappropriate with the child and committing child abuse. You don't specify what is happening, so I can't say whether you have an emergency or not. That is something you should discuss with an attorney in a consultation before you make any moves.

In general, if I were you, I would not file to modify without at least first consulting with an attorney.

You do not have a case to sever his parental rights based on abandonment. It does not sound like he has abandoned the child. If you file that, you will likely pay his attorney's fees.

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