Arizona Family Law Motion Practice

A “motion” is a request made by a party to litigation for the court to take some specific action. Most family court motions are made in writing, though certain requests can be made orally. The party who files the motion may be referred to as the “moving party” or the “movant” and this matters because the movant usually has the “last word” when the motion is contested. Generally speaking, Arizona family law motion practice is controlled by Rule 35.

ARFLP Rule 35. Family Law Motion Practice

A motion should include the legal basis for all relief sought. This may involve citation to statute, case law, procedural rule, or other authority upon which the motion is based. Motions must be served on the other party, pursuant to Rule 43. Once service is accomplished, the opposing party has ten (10) days to file a response, unless the family court imposes a different response period. Perhaps counterintuitively, the ten-day calculation excludes intermediate weekends and court holidays per Rule 4(A), so think of it like ten days the court is open. When the response is served (per Rule 43) to the movant, the movant then has an additional five court days to file a reply. The reply may not raise new allegations or information, it may only address the contents of the response. If a motion does not comply with Rule 35 or if no response is filed within the appropriate time period, the family court may summarily grant or deny the motion. It is always important to follow the rules of procedure to avoid waiving any claim or defense.

Most Common Family Law Motions

Though family law litigants can file a motion for virtually any specific request, the following motions are among the most commonly used:

  • Motion to Appear by Telephone — Rule 8
  • Motion to Appoint Child Attorney, Best Interests Attorney, or CAA — Rule 10
  • Motion for Court Interview of Children — Rule 12
  • Motion for an Interpreter — Rule 16
  • Motion to Dismiss / Motion to Strike — Rule 32
  • Motion to Amend a Pleading — Rule 34
  • Motion for Alternative Service — Rule 41 (in Arizona) or Rule 42 (outside Arizona)
  • Motion for Temporary Orders — Rule 47
  • Motion for Temporary Orders without Notice — Rule 48
  • Motion for Physical, Mental, or Vocation Evaluation — Rule 63
  • Motion to Compel Discovery — Rule 65
  • Motion to Appoint Family Law Master — Rule 72
  • Motion for Summary Judgment — Rule 79
  • Motion for New Trial or Amended Judgment — Rule 83
  • Motion for Reconsideration — Rule 84
  • Motion to Correct Mistakes — Rule 85