The State of Arizona initiated a dependency action in juvenile court against the parties, who have four minor children together. The juvenile court ordered the parties to share joint legal decision-making of the children, though it placed the children in Mother’s primary care with Father to exercise supervised parenting time. The juvenile court also denied Mother’s request to relocate and ordered her to comply with A.R.S. § 25-408.
Despite this order, Mother relocated with the children to Illinois without seeking permission from the family court and she did not inform Father of her relocation. Father eventually located Mother and the children and filed a motion for temporary orders to modify legal decision-making and parenting time.
The family court denied Father’s motion and appointed a best interests attorney to investigate the circumstances and ordered Father to submit to a mental health evaluation. Father then filed a petition to modify legal decision-making, parenting time, and child support where he requested sole legal decision-making authority and physical custody of the children.
Separately, Father also filed a petition to enforce the juvenile court’s parenting time order and asked the family court to find Mother in contempt and order her to reimburse Father’s costs incurred for supervised parenting time. After an evidentiary hearing, it granted Father’s requests.
The family court held another evidentiary hearing to resolve Father’s petition to modify child custody. It found that the children were doing well in their new environment in Illinois and that Father failed to demonstrate that he could provide comparable safety and stability based on a history of mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse. The court again ordered joint legal decision-making and supervised parenting time for Father.
Supervised Parenting Time
Ultimately, Father did not contest the denial of his petition, he only challenged the requirement that his parenting time to be supervised. He argued that the juvenile court ordered his parenting time to be supervised based on concerns about domestic violence/child abuse and mental illness, and claimed these allegations were unsupported by any evidence.
But the order for supervised parenting time was not based on the allegations of abuse and, as the Court of Appeals explained, the record included “substantial evidence” to support the family court’s conclusion that Father’s mental health endangers the children. It also noted that Father failed to comply with the psychologist’s recommendation to seek additional therapeutic treatment.