Guardianship of a Minor
How do I Get Legal Guardianship of a Minor in Arizona?
Anybody who is concerned with the wellbeing of a minor may file and petition the court for appointment of a guardianship. Despite our name, Senior Planning can assist with this process. Senior Planning is certified with the State of Arizona as a legal document preparer, which means w can help you prepare the documents needed to petition for guardianship of a juvenile. Because we are not a law firm, we are able to offer extremely competitive rates.
Do I need a Lawyer to File for Guardianship of a Minor? How do I Start?
No, any adult may petition the court for appointment of a Title 14 Guardianship. The interested party must submit the correct paperwork and forms to either Juvenile Court or Probate Court, depending on the situation. Next the person seeking guardianship must serve Legal Notice of Hearing to the person who previously had legal custody and care duties over the child. If someone other than a parent was caring for the child, any living parent must also be served notice of the hearing. This also applies if the child is over the age of fourteen. This must be done within sixty days before the scheduled hearing. Lastly, if the person seeking guardianship is not a blood relative, they must be fingerprinted.
What Happens if a Juvenile Guardianship is Objected to?
Before appointment of a guardianship, the court must determine that any living parent of a minor voluntarily agrees to the guardianship. If a parent disagrees, they will have to submit a written statement explaining their objection to the proposed guardianship. They then can petition the court to also be considered as a valid guardian and the judge may have to hold a trial before deciding which person to appoint. In this situation, we may recommend a lawyer.
What is Juvenile Guardianship and what is the Role of a Guardian?
Legal guardianship over a minor or juvenile is a court order stating that an adult who is not the child’s parent is in charge of caring for that child. This includes, but is not limited to, providing housing, medical treatment, education, and seeing to nutritional needs. A guardian is able to perform legal perform parental duties but they are not necessarily legally responsible for the financial support of the child. A legal guardian, however, is responsible for misconduct or damages caused by the minor, up to the first $10,000 in damages.
- Guardianship does not stop a parents’ child support obligations.
- Guardianship is temporary, usually ending when a minor turns 18 years of age.
- Either parent can terminate the guardianship at any time, for any reason, by repetitioning the court and scheduling a hearing.
- Parents’ rights are not terminated in regards to legal decision making, they are just suspended.
When is it needed?
One very common case is that someone does not have a power of attorney and is not mentally competent to sign one. Another is a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and their doctor has recommended one. As a document preparer, Senior Planning cannot tell you if this process is right for you, but can give you legal information to aid your decision making.
How Long Does it Take?
Emergency hearings happen very quickly once the filing is made. Depending on the circumstances, they can be held anywhere from the same day to one week from filing. Permanent petitions take longer to resolve, depending on the circumstances of your particular situation and where you are filing.
Can I Do This on My Own?
Guardianship and Conservatorship are very serious legal matters that involve preparation, process service, and appearing before a judge. At Senior Planning, our goal is to provide the services you need at affordable rates to make your filing go as smoothly as it possibly can. For extremely complex cases, we may also be able to refer an attorney in matters where you decide you need legal advice.