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Conciliation Court and You

Did you know the Pima County Superior Court offers free counseling services to help keep your marriage intact and to help you with parenting issues? There is no need to file for a divorce first. Not only that, the Conciliation Court is staffed with really well trained professionals. Plus, for now at least, it offers virtual counseling. This is a truly amazing service to our community about which most people know very little. Conciliation Court can be used for a variety of important tasks – from keeping a marriage together to navigating the modification of a parenting plan years after divorce. Here is a quick guide:

Conciliation Court was established in 1963 to primarily provide marriage counseling services. Since then its role has evolved to include much more.
The majority of what Conciliation Court does now is mediation for divorcing couples where child custody is in dispute, but it also offers free counseling even without a court petition being filed. Additionally, it conducts court-ordered child interviews and legal decision-making, parenting time evaluations. Finally, Conciliation Court offers the mandatory parenting class that all parents who are divorcing must take no matter how good a parent you may be. See more about these services below.

Conciliation court does not offer services to resolve money related divorce issues, including child support, spousal maintenance and property disputes.

All counseling and mediation services are free. Conciliation Court also conducts court-ordered child interviews for free. Parenting classes require a $45 fee; however, that fee can be waived in appropriate circumstances. Parenting evaluations are free but sometimes there is a cost elsewhere if further evaluation is needed- like a psychological evaluation.

Absolutely not! Conciliation Court is staffed with highly qualified mediators, who have advanced degrees in behavior sciences and postgraduate experience in marriage and family therapy and parenting issues. You would pay top rates to obtain those same services privately.

The Conciliation Court offers free mediation with a trained family mediator to help you and your parenting partner create a parenting plan. You can request mediation without filing a divorce or parenting petition. However, one is mandated once a divorce or parenting petition is filed if you have parenting disputes. With mediation, no one can force you to make an agreement, but you do have to attend. Lawyers and the children in question are not permitted to attend.

No. You can get a waiver from the Judge assigned to your case to either not participate in mediation, or request extra security measures like separate mediation sessions or separate waiting rooms.

Anyone can file a petition for conciliation. You do not have to a court case pending. Once a petition for conciliation is filed, a “time out” period of 60 days is started, which prevents either person from filing for separation or divorce. Even after a court case is filed, the time out period still applies, and litigation is paused for 60 days or until the petition for conciliation is dismissed.
The parenting class is mandated in any family court action involving minor children, even if there is no dispute. Unless otherwise ordered by the Judge, parties must attend the class within 45 days of filing or being served with a petition. The class will help you and your parenting partner learn more about the best practices to help minimize the impact parental separation has on both children and parents.

No, conciliation court is now offering the class online! But be sure to register for the class offered by Pima County Conciliation Court because parenting classes offered elsewhere doesn’t satisfy the requirement here.

Yes, currently all conciliation court services are being done telephonically, except for child interviews which still must be in person. It’s not known when mediation, and conciliation counseling and parenting evaluations will be returned back to in-person.

For more information on conciliation court or the applicable forms, please go here: Arizona Pima County Conciliation Court

Message from McCarthy Family Law​

McCarthy Family Law is a full service family law firm that services all family law issues. If you are going through a divorce or have questions about filing for divorce, we are here to assist you. Please call us at 520-623-0341 to explore your options. Turning Stress Into Solutions®.