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Guardianship

In Arizona, a guardian has the legal authority to make decisions for a child. Typically the birth parents are automatically considered the legal guardians for a minor. Sometimes parents will designate a person to become a legal guardian in the event of death or incapacity. The guardian takes on all the responsibilities of the parent once a guardianship is put into place. Primarily the guardian makes decisions concerning the education, living arrangements, and medical care of the child.

Scottsdale Guardianship Attorney

At the Daly Law Firm, we handle a wide range of legal guardianship and family law matters in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale, Chandler, Gilbert, and the surrounding areas of Maricopa County. It is important for parents to consult with a lawyer before a guardianship or conservatorship is put into place. After a guardianship is ordered, the guardian is entitled to make all the legal decisions for the child so it is important that the parent is fully aware of the effect of guardianship.


Guardianship Information Center


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What is a guardian ad litem?

A guardian ad litem is a guardian appointed by a court to protect the interest of a minor. The court appoints either a lawyer or advocate such as a social worker to serve as guardian ad litems in family court matters, probate matters and juvenile law matters.

The purpose of the guardian ad litem is to make sure the child’s legal interest is represented to the court. It is useful to have guardian ad litems in divorce proceedings where the parents are battling over custody so that there is a neutral representative for the best interest of the child.


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Who can be appointed as a guardian?

The court usually appoints a guardian that would be in the best interest of the child. The parents’ choice of guardian holds a lot of weight with the court. Also family members and people that already have a trusted relationship with the child are favorable choices.

It is possible for non-relatives or professionals like attorneys and social workers to become guardians. A thorough background check and fingerprinting is required for all guardians.


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What are the “letters of guardianship”?

The “letters of guardianship” is the official court document that gives the authority to the guardian to make legal decisions for the child. The judge enters the guardianship order and then the clerk signs the order to make it official.


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How do you become a guardian over a child?

  1. Arizona guardianship starts in the probate division of the Superior Court. The petition for appointment of a guardian must be filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court.

  2. The petitioner must pay a minimum filing fee of $106 and additional cost for service of process and certified copies. If you have an attorney handling the filing for a guardianship everything should be included in the attorney fees.

  3. The parents of the child need to either sign a form of consent for the guardianship or be served with notice that someone is initiating a guardianship proceeding. If the minor is over the age of 14 then it will be necessary for the minor to consent to the guardianship as well.

  4. After the petition is properly filed, a hearing takes place before a judge. At the hearing the judge will determine if all the procedural requirements have been met and if the appointment of a guardian is appropriate. The judge will also determine if the proposed guardian is in the best interest of the child.

  5. If the guardianship is uncontested the judge should finalize the guardianship at the initial hearing.


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What rights do parents have after a guardianship is ordered?

Parents may have the right to terminate the guardianship. Until the guardianship is terminated, the parents do not have the right to control the child’s living arrangements or medical care. The court may have laid out visitation rights, but the parents might not be able to contact the child if the guardian does not approve the contact.


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How is a guardianship terminated?

A guardianship can be terminated by the court once the parent’s objection to the guardianship is filed properly. In Arizona a guardianship cannot continue over a parent’s objection unless the parent’s parental rights have been terminated.

A guardianship over a minor automatically ends when the minor turns 18 years of age.

If any other party wants to object to the guardianship, he or she needs to file an objection with the court. The judge will have to review the objection and decide whether to end or modify the guardianship.


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Resources

Filing for Minor Guardianship in Arizona – Official Arizona court website with the forms needed to file for guardianship over a minor.


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Daly Law Firm | Phoenix Guardianship Lawyer

The Daly Law Firm has a great deal of experience litigating family matters in local courts. If you are contemplating a guardianship or conservatorship of a minor, it would be a good idea to speak with a Phoenix family lawyer about y our particular situation. The Daly Law Firm handles family law cases in the Scottsdale, Phoenix, Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation regarding your guardianship case.

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