ARS 25-502 Jurisdiction, Venue, and Procedure (Support)

A. The superior court has original jurisdiction in proceedings brought by the department, its agents, a person having physical custody of a child or a party to the case to establish, enforce or modify the duties of support as prescribed in this chapter. All such proceedings are civil actions except as provided in section 25-511. Proceedings to enforce the duties of support as prescribed in this chapter may be originated in the county of residence of the respondent or the petitioner or of the child or children who are the subject of the action.

B. A proceeding to establish support must originate in the county where the child resides or, if the child resides out of state, the county of this state where the party filing the petition to establish support resides, if either of the following applies:

  1. An action does not exist under this title.
  2. Paternity was established without a court order pursuant to section 36-334.

C. A person or the department or its agent must file a petition to establish or modify a child support order in the superior court in the county of the last order issued under this title if an order exists in this state. If a person wishes the case transferred to the county of this state where the child resides or, if the child resides out of state, the county of this state where the party requesting the transfer resides, the person must file a request for transfer with the clerk of the superior court that issued the last order.

D. A request for transfer pursuant to subsection C of this section must include a petition or motion regarding support, a statement of payments in default, if applicable, and the transmittal fee prescribed in section 12-284. The responding party may object to the transfer by filing an objection and affidavit within twenty days after service of the request to transfer.

E. If the clerk does not receive an objection and affidavit pursuant to subsection D of this section, the clerk shall issue the transfer order and transfer the proceeding and all related court files to the other county within thirty days after service of the request to transfer. If the clerk receives an objection and affidavit within the time prescribed in subsection D of this section, the clerk shall notify all parties of the date of the hearing at least ten days before the hearing date. The court may hear evidence relevant only to the issue of the transfer. If after that hearing the court orders the transfer, the clerk shall transfer the proceeding and court files within ten days after the order. The county to which the transfer is made retains the court files and venue for all purposes and the transferring county shall not retain a copy of those files.

F. The county to which a transfer is made pursuant to subsection D or E of this section shall proceed as if the proceeding was brought in that county originally. A judgment from that county has the same effect and may be enforced or modified as a judgment from the original county.

G. The party who petitioned for transfer must pay the postadjudication fee prescribed in section 12-284 to the county to which the proceeding was transferred within ten days after the date the clerk of the court mails the notice of the requirement to pay the postadjudication fee. If the party does not pay the fee by that date, the transfer order is automatically nullified and the court clerk shall return the proceeding and all related court files to the original county.

H. Except as provided in section 25-510, in title IV-D cases the superior court shall accept for filing any documents that are received through electronic transmission if the electronically reproduced document states that the copy used for the electronic transmission was certified before it was electronically transmitted.

I. On filing of the petition and, if applicable, after a transfer is completed, the court shall issue an order requiring the responding party to appear at the time and place set for the hearing on the petition. Service of the order and a copy of the petition shall be as provided in the Arizona rules of family law procedure. If the responding party receives notice of a hearing but fails to appear, the court may issue a child support arrest warrant as provided in article 5 of this chapter and shall require that the responding party pay at the time of arrest an amount set by the court to secure the responding party’s release from custody pending an appearance at the next scheduled hearing. The court also may find the party to be in contempt of court pursuant to section 12-864.01 and set an amount to be paid to purge the contempt. Any purge amount set by the court shall supersede the amount required to be set to secure the responding party’s release, and the responding party shall pay only the purge amount as a condition of release from custody. Any amounts paid under this section shall be deposited with the clerk of the court or the support payment clearinghouse and credited first to the responding party’s current child support obligation and then to arrearages. The court may grant a default judgment for arrearages on a prima facie showing of the amount due.

J. The department or its agent or a parent, guardian or custodian may file with the clerk of the superior court a request to establish child support. The request must include a proposed order, the worksheet for child support and a notice of the right to request a hearing within twenty days after service in this state or within thirty days after service outside this state. The request, proposed order, worksheet and notice shall be served pursuant to the Arizona rules of family law procedure on all parties, and in a title IV-D case, on the department or its agent. In a title IV-D case, the department or its agent may serve all parties by certified mail, return receipt requested. If a party does not request a hearing within the time prescribed by this subsection, the court shall review the proposed order and worksheet and enter an appropriate order or set the matter for a hearing. In a title IV-D case, the department or its agent shall enforce the order.

K. Each licensing board or agency that issues professional, recreational or occupational licenses or certificates shall record on the application the social security number of the applicant and shall enter this information in its database in order to aid the department of economic security in locating parents or their assets or to enforce child support orders. This subsection does not apply to a license that is issued pursuant to title 17 and that is not issued by an automated drawing system. If a licensing board or agency allows an applicant to use a number other than the social security number on the face of the license or certificate while the licensing board or agency keeps the social security number on file, the licensing board or agency shall advise an applicant of this fact.

For more information on Family Law in Arizona click to review the following Articles and Resources:

Resource: Arizona State Legislature