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Aksamit v. Krahn

Court of Appeals of Arizona
227 P.3d 475 (2010)


Facts

Patricia Aksamit (plaintiff) sought a divorce from her husband, Greg Krahn (defendant). Aksamit and Krahn had two minor children. Both Aksamit and Krahn sought sole legal custody with parenting time for the other parent. The trial judge appointed a best-interests attorney. A best-interests attorney is a court-appointed attorney who acts in a representative capacity and may urge the court to reach a decision based upon the evidence presented, but who may not submit a report into evidence or testify at trial. The best-interests attorney was not a sworn witness, but the trial court requested a report, which the attorney provided. The attorney detailed a series of interactions and interviews with Aksamit, Krahn, and the children. The attorney recommended that Aksamit be granted sole legal custody and that Krahn receive parenting time. The court relied heavily upon the attorney’s opinions in making its custody determination and followed the attorney’s recommendations. Greg appealed, alleging that it was improper for the trial Krahn to consider the best-interests attorney’s report in making its custody determination.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barker, J.)

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