Arizona Custody: How to Use Conciliation Court Services

Conciliation Court is a division of the court system that offers free, short-term marriage counseling to help spouses decide if they want to divorce.

It also provides low-cost mediation and other services for both divorcing and unmarried parents who need help deciding their parenting plan and parenting time schedule.

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Marriage counseling

Either spouse can request counseling from their county's Conciliation Court before or during a divorce or legal separation case.

If they make the request beforehand, neither spouse can file for divorce or legal separation for 60 days. If they make the request after either has opened a case, they must do it within 60 days of when the initial papers are served, and then neither spouse can take further action in the case for another 60 days.

Either spouse can request to extend their time in Conciliation Court — and the hold on legal action — to 120 days. The court automatically approves extensions unless the other spouse objects for a valid reason.

Within a month of filing in Conciliation Court, spouses have their first meeting with a court-appointed marriage counselor. The next steps depend on your county's process and your case. Typically, you'll have at least three meetings total with the counselor (often one individual meeting each and one together).

If spouses don't reconcile, their case moves to family court for the rest of the litigation process.


Conciliation Court offers low-cost mediation for parents in any active case involving custody.

In mediation, an expert in dispute resolution and family law helps parents resolve disagreements over legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, etc. Unlike in marriage counseling, discussions must focus on issues in the case, not relationships in general. (Married parents are free to try both counseling and mediation.)

If parents don't agree on custody, most counties order them to attempt mediation, unless there are domestic violence concerns. Parents can also choose to try mediation at any time, either through Conciliation Court or private mediation.

When parents use Conciliation Court mediation, they typically wait a month or more for the first session with their assigned mediator. In most counties, the cost is $100 per parent per three-hour session (some counties, including Pima, don't charge). Parents with an approved fee waiver don't pay.

Other services

Your county's Conciliation Court may offer additional services, including evaluations and parent education classes.

Throughout the case

During the custody process, you may need to create a parenting time schedule, write a parenting plan, keep a log of interactions with the other parent, and more.

The Custody X Change app enables you to do all of this in one place.

With parenting time calendars, a parenting plan template, a digital journal and more, Custody X Change makes sure you're prepared for whatever arises in your journey to child custody.

Throughout your case, take advantage of our technology to stay on top of all the moving parts.

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