Owen v. Blackhawk
In Owen v. Blackhawk, 206 Ariz. 418, 420, P 7, 79 P.3d 667, 669 (App. 2003), the family court order listed some statutory factors by number, made other findings that favored neither parent, and made detailed findings on just one relocation factor, the impact of the relocation on the child's relationship with the father. 206 Ariz. at 421, P 12, 79 P.3d at 670.
The Court held that "without further explanation from the trial court regarding its consideration of the applicable factors, we cannot say that the trial court did not focus too much attention on the impact on the child's relationship with father to the exclusion of other relevant considerations." Id.
Owen held that this was an abuse of discretion that required remand to allow the family court to state on the record its findings in compliance with A.R.S. 25-403. Id. at 421-22, P 12, 79 P.3d at 670-71.
In making a custody determination, the family court is required to consider the factors enumerated in A.R.S. 25-403(A) regarding the children's best interests.
In a contested custody case, the court must make specific findings on the record regarding "all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the children." A.R.S. 25-403(B).
It is an abuse of discretion for the family court to fail to make requisite findings pursuant to 25-403. See Owen, 206 Ariz. at 421-22, P 12, 79 P.3d at 670-71 (holding the family court abused its discretion by changing a custody arrangement without making findings on the record).