Written by attorney Ryan Michael Reppucci

Appearances and Testimony by Phone in Arizona Family Law Cases

Rule 8, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (ARFLP) governs telephonic appearances and testimony. In relevant text, Rule 8 states as follows:

[t]he court may, in its discretion, *** order or allow oral argument or appearance on any motion or other proceeding by speaker telephonic conference call, or regular telephonic conference call, provided the conversations of all parties and counsel are audible to each participant, the judge and, where applicable, the court reporter or electronic recording. The party requesting telephonic argument shall set up the conference call and, unless otherwise ordered by the court, pay for same.

Rule 8 further declares that a party seeking to provide testimony and appearance through telephonic means, must motion the court to appear in that manner. Specifically, Rule 8 further states:

[u]pon request of a party or witness, or on its own motion, and upon finding that no substantial prejudice will result to any party by allowing telephonic or video conference testimony, the court may allow a party or witness to give testimony at any evidentiary hearing or trial telephonically or by video conference if the court finds, as to a party: that the party is reasonably prevented from attending the hearing or trial, or that attendance in person at hearing or trial would be a burdensome expense to the party; and, as to a witness:

(1) that the witness is reasonably prevented from attending the hearing or trial,

(2) that the witness would be unduly inconvenienced by attending the hearing or trial, or

(3) that attendance in person at hearing or trial would be a burdensome expense to the witness.

In addition to the requirements listed herein, a party seeking telephonic appearance must motion the court for attendance in that manner not less than thirty (30) days prior to a trial or evidentiary hearing unless the time to trial or evidentiary hearing is less than thirty (30) days, in which case the request shall be filed no later than five (5) days prior to time of trial or evidentiary hearing, unless the party is relived of this time requirement by the court.

If all the above requirements are satisfied, motions for telephonic appearance by a witness or party are generally freely granted.

If your motion for telephonic appearance is granted, there are further requirements that must be met to ensure that the attending parties are not prejudiced by the non physical appearance of the party attending via telephone. In particular any documents a party wishes to introduce into evidence through a party or witness appearing telephonically shall be provided in advance to that party or witness. Exact duplicates of the same shall likewise be provided to opposing party or their counsel if represented.

If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact an experienced Phoenix Family Law Attorney or the experienced Phoenix Family Law Attorneys at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.

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