By order of the Court, Conciliation Services will assign a Parenting Conference Provider to conduct the Conference. The purpose of the non-confidential Parenting Conference is to assist the Court in determining the best interests of the child(ren) by providing information, and frequently including considerations, with respect to the children's residential arrangements, the amount of time they spend with each parent, and how the parents might assume decision-making responsibility for their children.
The Parenting Conference is a non-confidential process that identifies areas of agreement and significant issues in dispute regarding Legal Decision Making and/or parenting time. Parental concerns and parental fitness are assessed when necessary. The process consists of the following:
1. Initial Referral
During the court hearing the judge will order that the parties attend a parenting conference. After the court hearing, the parties need to report to the Clerk of the Court to make payment arrangements for the Conference. There is a service fee of $300 per person for Parenting Conferences. From there you will be contacted by the assigned Contract Provider within 10 days to arrange your Parenting Conference appointment time.
2. Collateral Information
Child Protective Services, law enforcement records, and other relevant information may be reviewed by the assigned Provider. Information from additional sources may be collected when deemed necessary. These documents will be requested by Conciliation Services and provided directly to the Provider.
The Parenting Conference typically includes a joint meeting with the parents and may include individual meetings with the parents and interviews and/or observations with the child(ren). Other parties involved with the family may be interviewed at the discretion of the Provider. The parties may reach agreement on some or all of the parenting issues during the Parenting Conference. If the parties' agreement appears to be in the best interests of the child(ren), the Provider may recommend the agreement to the court. However, if the Provider has identified issues of concern, they will address those issues in the report. The Provider may report impressions regarding areas of the disagreement as well as possible solutions for the court's consideration.
4. Written Report
The goal of the written report is to provide sufficient information to the court for determining appropriate orders regarding Legal Decision Making and/or parenting time that would be in the best interest of the parties minor child(ren) after considering all relevant factors including those set forth in A.R.S § 25-403. The Provider will provide the written report to the court within 60 days or 14 days prior to any scheduled hearings in the case. The report shall be delivered to the Court and counsel, or the parties if they are self-represented.