Family law cases in Arizona are governed by rules and statutes implemented and enforced by the courts. These rules and procedures are created to protect individuals and organize the family law processes. Arizona Family Law Procedure 49, commonly referred to as Rule 49, sets the minimum disclosure requirements for individuals involved in family law matters. To view the complete Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedures, click here.
Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure Rule 49
The purpose of Rule 49 is to set requirements and procedure standards for all family law cases. Rule 49 addresses the exact requirements individuals must adhere to in their disclosures in a family law case. It requires that unless otherwise specified, within 40 days after filing a response to an initial petition each party must disclose, in writing, information regarding the following topics:
- Resolution Statement
- Child Support
- Spousal Maintenance and Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
- Disclosure of Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
In addition to these requirements, parties are also obligated to continue disclosing pertinent information related to the family law case. Parties must disclose information pertaining to the case, within 30 days or receiving the information. Parties are also required to provide any requested, relevant information that is ordered by the court. This allows for open, forthcoming communication between parties and the court at all times.
Each party must disclose a written resolution statement. The resolution statement should address all above topics, and specify any agreements or specifics previously agreed upon, and the position of the party on these matters. The resolution statement is not intended to include arguments for one side, it is simply to disclose where you stand on each matter. The purpose is to propose options to come to an agreement upon and resolve the issues at hand.
Resolution statements are to be filed with the Clerk of the Court within 40 days after filing the response to the initial petition. They must also be served to the opposing party or their respective attorney.
For instructions to create a resolution statement in the correct format, visit your local county court site.
If your family law case involves children, you are required to address and disclose the following information if it applies to your situation:
- Affidavit of Financial Information: This will be used to determine your income rate and the amount of child support you are obligated to pay.
- Proof of Income from all sources: Parties are required to disclose financial documents to prove their income for the past 2 years. This can include: tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, etc. These forms should cover all sources of income including bonuses, investments, 401K’s, pensions, annuities, benefits, prizes, etc.
- Proof of child support and spousal maintenance payments from any previous court orders
- Proof of medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums paid by the party for the children involved in the matter
- Proof of childcare expenses incurred by the party for all children common to the parties involved (information regarding any additional children a party may have will be taken into account for expense purposes but not to determine child support)
- Proof of payment of special school expenses (e.g., private school, specialized classes)
- Proof of payments regarding a special needs child that is involved with the case
Spousal Maintenance and Attorney’s Fees and Costs
Parties are entitled to request compensation for spousal maintenance and attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the case. If either party requests for these payments, then both parties are required to disclose information relating to these topics.
Parties are required to provide an Affidavit of Financial Information (AFI) and any related documents regarding their sources of income (see above requirements in Child Support 1 and 2)
Parties are required to disclose information regarding the marital property involved in the dissolution. It is required to disclose the following information, if applicable:
- Copies of all documents proving ownership in a property, legal description of the property, and purchase price, including: deeds, purchase agreements, escrow documents, settlement documents, and deeds of trust.
- Copies of all bank account statements that parties have had an interest in for at least 6 months prior to the filing of a petition
- Copies of statements regarding pensions, retirement funds, 401K’s, stock options, or any other source of benefits or income
- Copies of life insurance documents outlining the cash value of each
- Copies of documents proving or assisting in determining value of marital assets
- Copies of documents that would be used to determine the value of a business, including: balance sheets, tax returns, and profit and loss records.
- List of all assets/items in which the party has an interest, including: homes, vehicles, jewelry, furniture, artwork, etc.
To assist in determining the split of debts in a dissolution or separation, parties are required to disclose the following information:
- Copies of all statements showing existing debts (that the party has had interest in for at least 6 months prior to the initial petition being filed)
- Copies of credit card statements from 6 months prior to the initial petition up until the disclosure
Debts will be assessed by the courts to determine a fair distribution.
Disclosure of Witnesses and Expert Witnesses
As part of Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure Rule 49, parties must also disclose witnesses they intend to use in their case. For witnesses the party would like to include in the trial, they must provide their name, address, and brief summary of what they will attest to. However, parties are not allowed to use a witness in trial that was not disclosed at least 60 days prior to the trial.
For expert witnesses, parties must disclose their name, address, and summary of their testimony. But, the disclosure must provide further information in the summary, including: substance of the facts and opinions, reasoning for each opinion, qualifications as an expert witness, and the contact for any custodian of record that will need to be contacted.
Failure to disclose any pertinent information to the case can result in potential loss of rights, unfavorable outcomes, and other penalties. This situation is intended to be an open, forthcoming discussion regarding the facts. Parties found to be withholding information to avoid paying more for child support or spousal maintenance will be dealt with by the courts immediately.
Understanding and adhering to all of the rules and procedures in a family law case can be difficult. Having an experienced attorney on your side will ensure that you are not penalized for not following the proper proceedings or not disclosing some information properly. With all of the many variable that are considered in a family law case, having a skilled family law attorney on your side can bring individuals peace of mind and alleviated stress. If you or a loved one are facing a family law matter, contact our team today to discuss your options.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.