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Guardianship of Minors in Arizona

Guardianship is a legal tool that authorizes a non-parent to make certain health, education, housing, and other upbringing decisions on behalf of a minor child. Guardianship is designed to help ensure a child’s well-being when parents die, are incapacitated, or are otherwise unable to care for their kids.

At Hildebrand Law, our Arizona guardianship attorneys help people across the state navigate the process of becoming a guardian. We are seasoned lawyers who have dedicated our careers to assisting families, and we are proud to have a track record of successful results for the people that we represent. 

How Guardianship Works in Arizona

Anyone can file a petition in court seeking approval as a non-parent guardian of a minor. 

The person filing the petition has to notify the person who has had the principal care and custody of the minor during the 60 days leading up to the date of the petition. The petitioner also must notify any living parent of the minor and the minor if he or she is at least 14 years of age.

To get the guardianship approved, the person filing the petition must show that:

  • The petitioner is a “loco parentis” relationship with the child, meaning he or she effectively serves as a parent;
  • Placing the child in the custody of a living parent would be “significantly detrimental” to the child; and
  • No other court has ruled on custody of the child in the last year.

Arizona courts generally hold a hearing after the petition is filed to consider these questions and any arguments against granting the petition. Judges operate under a “rebuttable presumption” that a living legal parent who is seeking custody of a child is entitled to custody. To overcome this presumption, a non-parent must point to “clear and convincing evidence” that granting custody to the parent is not in the child’s “best interest.”

In some situations, a judge may appoint a separate attorney to represent the child’s best interests in the matter. An Arizona guardianship lawyer at our firm can help you build the strongest possible petition and make your case in court.

Guardianship After the Death of Parents in Arizona

In situations where both of a child’s parents have died, a guardian may be designated in one or both parents’ wills. The guardian simply has to file an acceptance in court and give written notice to the child (if over 14), the person caring for the child or the child’s nearest adult relative.

A child who is 14 years or older has the right to oppose guardianship by filing a written objection. In these situations, the matter will go before a judge in a hearing.

Speak with an Arizona Guardianship Attorney

If you seek guardianship of a minor or are locked in a related dispute, Hildebrand Law can help. Contact us online to speak with our firm’s Arizona estate planning attorneys.