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Welch-Doden v. Roberts

Arizona Court of Appeals
42 P.3d 1166 (2002)


Facts

In 1996, Melissa Welch-Doden (mother) (plaintiff) and Terry Welch-Doden (father) (defendant) wed in Arizona. When they could not find work there, they moved to Oklahoma, where their child was born in 1999. For the next seven months, the family lived together in Oklahoma. The mother and child then began to move back and forth between Oklahoma and Arizona. They lived in Arizona for three months from December 1999–March 2000, in Oklahoma for six months from March 2000–September 2000, then back in Arizona from September 2000 on. The mother’s stays in Arizona were purportedly for the purpose of finding work. She asserted that the couple’s intent was to move back to Arizona permanently. On January 25, 2001, the mother filed for divorce and custody in an Arizona court. On February 8, 2001, the father filed for divorce and custody in an Oklahoma court. In August 2001, the Arizona court ruled that Oklahoma had home-state jurisdiction over the child’s custody. Accordingly, the Arizona trial judge dismissed the mother’s petition. In September 2001, the Oklahoma court granted a divorce and awarded custody to the father. In the Court of Appeals of Arizona, the mother filed a special action against the trial judge (defendant) and requested that the dismissal of her petition be stayed. The court granted a stay pending its decision in the matter.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barker, J.)

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