Modification of custody is one of the most difficult modifications to request in Arizona and it typically includes a modification of parenting time and child support, here is the information that you need:
Pleading (Petition for Modification of Child Custody [and Parenting Time and Child Support, if requested] pursuant to ARFLP 91D)
First, quote the specific language in the parenting plan that you want to change. If it is too much to cite directly, incorporate the parenting plan by reference. Then, set forth the “substantial and continuing changes in circumstances” that merit a change (i.e., change in exercised parenting time, income, childcare costs, health insurance, etc.) Also, for the custody portion, include specifics on why you believe that custody should be changed. Tell the court what relief you are seeking (joint/sole custody, what parenting time, etc.) If you are requesting a change in child support, include both incomes and all relevant expenses for the children. Tell the court whether the matter is a IV-D (four-dee) matter or not. If you don't know, you most likely are not. The date the prior order was entered and the name and location of the court that entered the prior order. Finally, tell the court whether the parenting plan requires the parties to mediate. You can also request mediation.
Other Required Pleadings
If you are only requesting a change in custody, you will only need blank Orders to Appear. If you are also requesting a change in parenting time and/or child support, you will also need a completed Affidavit of Financial Information (AFI), a blank Affidavit of Financial Information (to be served on the other party) and a Child Support Worksheet. The clerk will issue a Notice of Filing Petition for Modification of Child Custody which needs to be served on the other party. You will also need two self-addressed, stamped envelopes (one addressed to you, one to the other party).
When you are ready to file, take the following to the filing counter: (1) Filing fee - currently $81 in Maricopa County, (2) Petition (original + 3 copies). The clerk will notarize the petition if you haven't already done so. If requesting a change in child support, also take (3) a Child Support Worksheet (four copies) and (4) a completed Affidavit of Financial Information (original + 3 copies). Don't forget to get the Notice of Filing Petition for Modification of Child Custody from the Clerk.
Deliver to the Judge
Deliver the following to the judge’s inbox: Petition (one copy), completed Affidavit of Financial Information (one copy), Orders to Appear (three copies), Notice of Filing Petition for Modification of Child Custody (issued by the Clerk of the Court), Child Support Worksheet (one copy), and two self-addressed, stamped envelopes (one addressed to you, one to the other party).
Serve the Other Party
Serve the other party with the Petition, Order to Appear, and Notice of Filing Petition for Modification of Child Custody. If requesting a change in support, also serve Blank Affidavit of Financial Information, your completed Affidavit of Financial Information and the Child Support Worksheet.