Exposing Your Child to A Sex Offender Means Total Loss of Decision Making Authority

Exposing Your Child to A Sex Offender Means Total Loss of Decision Making Authority

Complete Denial of Legal Decision Making

If your child is exposed to a sex offender by the other parent, you may go back to court to request an order ending parenting time, as well as an award of sole legal decision-making. The intent of Arizona law is to protect children from contact with sex offenders.

Arizona’s Approach

Arizona statute 25-403.05 doesn’t mince words.  Including “sexual offenders; murderers;” reveals who will be denied any type of legal decision-making for a minor child.  If one parent is a registered sex offender, or has been convicted of murdering the child’s other parent, they have little chance of getting any role in the life of their child.

Exception to the Rule

Arizona law prevents a registered sex offender to have legal decision-making or unsupervised parenting time. However, a parent who has been convicted of first degree murder, and the victim is the other parent, may request the court to consider the additional factors:

  • If there is credible evidence the convicted parent was a victim of domestic violence, at the hands of the murdered parent; and
  • Expert witness testimony establishing the domestic violence and abuse created trauma.

The court is permitted to consider testimony the parent may have had a defense to first degree murder.

Notice to Other Parents

The statute also requires notice.  Each parent is obligated to inform the other parent when a person convicted of sexual abuse, had contact or may have contact with the child.  Since both parents must act for a child’s greatest benefit, notice is mandatory. Parenting consists of responsibilities as well as rights, and protecting children from sexual predators is one of the most important.

Section 403.05 in Context

A person who has been found guilty of first degree murder of their child’s parent won’t be given much say in their child’s life, unless the murder was provoked by domestic abuse, as defined by Arizona law.  Allowing a convicted sex offender contact with your child and keeping silent about such contact is a serious offense. The notification requirements are expressly outlined and detailed in all orders related to “Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time”.

Concluding Thoughts

Parents have rights under Arizona’s domestic relation laws.  Courts will provide a fair hearing before limiting a parents’ legal decision-making or parenting time.  In return, parents must protect their children, as well as help the other parent keep the children well and safe.  The marriage has been dissolved or the parents are no longer together, and therefore, each parent’s role has been decided by agreement or a court order.  Now, each parent must act in full accord with the order, as well as Arizona law.