Mother retained Simon Law Group to fight for sole custody of her infant child. Mother had to flee an abusive relationship wherein father was convicted of domestic violence. Based upon Mother’s testimony and evidence of the certified convictions, the Court found existence of domestic violence. Under A.R.S. §25-403.03(A) a finding of significant domestic violence or a history of significant domestic violence generally precludes an award of joint legal custody or an award of sole custody to the parent who committed the significant act of domestic violence. The Court in this case found there was significant domestic violence and found by preponderance of the evidence that Father had engaged in significant domestic violence such that prohibiting an award of joint legal custody.
Mother was ordered primary physical custody and Father was ordered to have supervised parenting time to be performed by either any individual the parties could agree to or a licensed professional supervision service retained and paid for by Father.
Mother requested an award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to A.R.S. §25-324 which provides as follows:
“The court from time to time, after considering the financial resources of both parties and the reasonableness of the positions each party has taken throughout the proceedings, may order a party to pay a reasonable amount to the other party for the costs and expenses of maintaining or defending any proceeding under this Chapter, or Chapter 4, Article 1 of this title. . . .”
The Court found that Father acted unreasonably in the litigation when he denied in paragraph 13 of his Response to the Paternity Complaint a history of domestic violence. The Court further noted that the evidence unequivocally established that he had a recent criminal conviction for domestic violence.