Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure

Rule 6. Change of Judge as a Matter of Right

(a) Definitions.

(1) Judge. The term “judge” as used in this rule and Rule 6.1 refers to any judge, judge pro tem, or court commissioner.

(2) Presiding judge. The term “presiding judge” as used in this rule refers to the presiding superior court judge in the county where the action is pending, or that judge’s designee.

(b) Generally. In each action, whether single or consolidated, each party is entitled as a matter of right to a change of judge.

(c) Notice Requirements. A party seeking a change of judge as a matter of right must either file a written notice, or make an oral request on the record, in the manner provided below:

(1) Written Notice. A written notice of change of judge must be served on all other parties, the presiding judge, the noticed judge, and the court administrator, if any, by any method provided in Rule 43(b). The notice must contain:

(A) the name of the judge to be changed;

(B) a statement that:

(i) the notice is timely under Rule 6(d);

(ii) no waiver has occurred under Rule 6(e); and

(iii) the party has not been granted a change of a judge as a matter of right previously in the action. The notice cannot specify grounds for the change of judge.

(2) Oral Notice. An oral request for change of judge must include the information required by Rule 6(c)(1)(A) and (B). When made, it is deemed to be an “oral notice of change of judge” for purposes of this rule. The judge must enter on the record the date of the oral notice, the requesting party’s name, and the judge’s disposition of the request. A party obtaining a change of judge based on an oral notice is deemed to have exercised its right to a change of judge under Rule 6(b). For purposes of this rule, an oral notice is deemed “filed” on the date that it is made on the record.

(d) Time Limits. A party is precluded from obtaining a change of judge as a matter of right unless the party files a timely notice.

(1) The notice must be filed 60 or more days before a scheduled contested hearing or trial.

(2) If a new judge is assigned within 60 days of a scheduled contested hearing or trial, a notice is timely filed as to the newly assigned judge if filed within 10 days after the party receives notice of the new assignment, or within 10 days after the new judge is assigned, whichever is later.

(3) If a party has received less than 10 days’ notice of a proceeding or the assignment of the judge, the party must file a notice at least 3 days before the proceeding.

(4) If a party has received less than 5 days’ notice of a proceeding or a judge assignment, the party may file a notice of change of judge at any time before the proceeding begins.

(5) If the right to a change of judge is renewed under Rule 6(f), a notice is timely if filed within 15 days after issuance of the appellate court’s mandate under ARCAP 24.

(e) Waiver. A party waives the right to change a judge assigned to preside over any proceeding in the action, if:

(1) the party agrees to the assignment;

(2) the judge rules on any contested issue, or grants or denies a motion to dispose of any claim or defense, if the party had an opportunity to file a notice of change of judge before the ruling is made;

(3) a resolution management, scheduling, pretrial, or similar conference begins; or

(4) a scheduled contested hearing or trial begins.

(f) Actions Remanded from an Appellate Court. In actions remanded from an appellate court, the right to a change of judge is renewed and no event connected with the first trial constitutes a waiver:

(1) if the appellate decision requires a new trial or contested hearing; and

(2) the party seeking a change of judge has not previously exercised the party’s right to a change of judge in the action.

(g) Procedures on Notice.

(1) On Proper Notice. If a notice is timely filed and no waiver has occurred, the judge named in the notice should proceed no further in the action except to make such temporary orders as are necessary to prevent immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage from occurring before the action can be transferred to another judge. If the named judge is the only judge in the county, that judge may also reassign the case.

(2) On Improper Notice. If the court determines that the party who filed the notice is not entitled to a change of judge, the named judge may proceed with the action.

(3) Reassignment.

(A) On Stipulation. If a notice of change of judge is filed, the parties should inform the court in writing whether they have agreed on an available judge who is willing to hear the action. An agreement of all parties may be honored and, if so, bars further changes of judge as a matter of right unless the agreed-on judge becomes unavailable. If a judge to whom an action is assigned by agreement later becomes unavailable because of a change of calendar assignment, death, illness, or other incapacity, the parties may assert any rights under this rule that existed immediately before the assignment to that judge.

(B) Absent Stipulation. If no judge is agreed on, the presiding judge must promptly reassign the action.

Currentness