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House OKs bill speeding child custody hearings

PHOENIX — The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill designed
to force judges to hold initial child custody hearings faster, generally within
60 days.

The bill passed Wednesday on a 50-8 vote and now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer for
her signature. It passed the Senate last month on a 29-0 vote.

Cases can now take months for an initial hearing. Bill sponsor Sen. Nancy Barto
says that can deny the non-custodial parent of their right to participate in
their child’s upbringing.

Judges assigned to new child custody case would have to hold an evidentiary
hearing within 60 days of a parent’s filing if the bill becomes law. Exceptions
include if the person waves that requirement or the parties agree to temporary
custody arrangements.

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