In re Marriage of Smith, 040220 AZAPP2, 2 CA-CV 2019-0166-FC

Docket Nº:2 CA-CV 2019-0166-FC
Opinion Judge:BREARCLIFFE, JUDGE
Party Name:In re the Marriage of Larry P. Smith, Petitioner/Appellee, and Alexandra Smith, Respondent/Appellant.
Attorney:Alexandra Smith, Sierra Vista In Propria Persona
Judge Panel:Judge Brearcliffe authored the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Staring and Chief Judge Vásquez concurred.
Case Date:April 02, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Arizona
 
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In re the Marriage of Larry P. Smith, Petitioner/Appellee,

and

Alexandra Smith, Respondent/Appellant.

No. 2 CA-CV 2019-0166-FC

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division

April 2, 2020

Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Cochise County No. DO201700499 The Honorable David Thorn, Judge

Alexandra Smith, Sierra Vista In Propria Persona

Judge Brearcliffe authored the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Staring and Chief Judge Vásquez concurred.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

BREARCLIFFE, JUDGE

¶1 Appellant Alexandra Smith appeals the trial court's order granting her and appellee Larry Smith joint legal decision-making authority over their son. We have jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S. § 12-2101(A)(1) and we affirm.

Analysis

¶2 Appellant Smith contends that the trial court "did not properly consider or weigh all of the admitted evidence" in making its determination and that its determination is "not supported by the evidence or is contrary to law." Although Larry Smith did not file an answering brief, because the matter involves the best interests of a minor child, we will not exercise our discretion to consider such failure a confession of error. See Hoffman v. Hoffman, 4 Ariz.App. 83, 85 (1966).

¶3 The trial court must assign legal decision-making authority and allocate parenting time in accordance with the best interests of the child. A.R.S. § 25-403; DeLuna v. Petitto, 247 Ariz. 420, ¶ 11 (App. 2019). In determining the child's best interests, the court must consider "all factors that are relevant," including those listed in A.R.S. § 25-403(A), and must make its findings on the record. § 25-403; see also Hart v. Hart, 220 Ariz. 183, ¶ 17 (App. 2009) (noting specific findings need not be included in separate document). It is an abuse of discretion for the trial court to fail to make these required findings. Hurd v. Hurd, 223 Ariz. 48, ¶ 11 (App. 2009). We review a trial court's legal decision-making determination for an abuse of discretion. Nold v. Nold, 232 Ariz. 270, ¶ 11 (App. 2013). An abuse of discretion exists when the record lacks any competent evidence to support the decision. Little v. Little, 193 Ariz. 518, ¶ 5 (1999).

¶4 In its ruling, the trial court addressed each of the best-interests factors set forth in § 25-403(A), finding that the evidence was "neutral" as to each. That is, it...

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