(a) Grounds. A party seeking a change of judge for cause must establish grounds by affidavit as required by A.R.S. § 12-409.
(b) Filing and Service. The affidavit must be filed, and copies served on the parties, the presiding judge, the noticed judge, and the court administrator, if any, by any method provided in Rule 43(b).
(c) Timeliness and Waiver. A party must file an affidavit seeking a change of judge for cause within 20 days after discovering that grounds exist for a change of judge. Case events or actions taken before that discovery do not waive a party’s right to a change of judge for cause.
(d) Hearing and Assignment. If a party timely files and serves an affidavit complying with A.R.S. § 12-409:
(1) Within 5 days after the affidavit is served, any other party may file an opposing affidavit or a response of no more than two pages. No reply or affidavits are permitted unless authorized by the presiding judge.
(2) The presiding judge may hold a hearing to determine the issues raised in the affidavit or may decide the issues based on any affidavits and memoranda filed by the parties.
(3) On filing of the affidavit for cause, the named judge should proceed no further in the action except to make such temporary orders as are necessary to prevent immediate and irreparable harm from occurring before the request is decided and the action transferred. However, if the named judge is the only judge in the county, that judge may also perform the functions of the presiding judge.
(4) The presiding judge must decide the issues by the preponderance of the evidence. Under A.R.S. § 12-409(B)(5), the sufficiency of any “cause to believe” must be determined by an objective standard, not by reference to the affiant’s subjective belief. If grounds for disqualification are found, the presiding judge must promptly reassign the action. Any new assignment must comply with A.R.S. § 12-411.
(5) If the court determines that the party who filed the affidavit is not entitled to a change of judge, the named judge may proceed with the action.