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  • Geoffrey K. Ulreich

Third-Party Custody in Arizona: What You Should Know When Considering Minor Guardianship of a Child


Guardianship is a serious undertaking, and there are many important things to consider before creating a guardianship. Parents are sometimes alarmed at the thought of allowing someone else to take up their parental duties. This is understandable, as the right to parent is one of our oldest and most cherished rights. Still, there can be good reasons to allow a guardianship, depending on the circumstances.

There are many reasons to pursue establishing a guardianship. Some reasons to establish a guardianship is for educational or medical reasons. Schools require a caretaker to have guardianship established before enrolling the child in classes. In addition, medical providers require either a parent or guardian before agreeing to treat the child. Other reasons could be the child is turning eighteen but cannot take care of himself and needs a guardian to take care of themselves.

In Arizona, a parent has the right to refuse to consent to a minor guardianship. The process is entirely voluntary, and cannot proceed without parental consent. However, a parent may be better off providing consent, depending on their particular situation.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is the assumption of responsibility for a child, much as a parent would be responsible for that child. The guardian is the person assuming responsibility for the care of the child. When a child is assigned a guardian, that child becomes a ward of that guardian. The process by which this happens is called guardianship, and it involves asking a court to create this relationship between the ward and guardian, and to monitor the guardian. When the court decides that a guardianship is appropriate, it will issue Letters of Minor Guardianship, which establishes the guardian relationship.

Why is Guardianship Sometimes Appropriate?

There are many understandable reasons why caring for a young child could be challenging enough to seek the help of a guardian. The parent may simply be unavailable to care for a child for a period of time, due to military deployment, employment, incarceration, or death. In many of these situations, a guardian can help provide care for the child by becoming the child's guardian.

What Benefits Result from Guardianship?

The benefits that come with a guardianship depend on the circumstances, but generally involve giving the minor child care and stability that they would otherwise not get. The child may be able to be enrolled in school, or be able to receive the medical treatment they needed.

Guardianship is a very complex legal issue that you should not attempt on you own. To met with an experienced guardianship attorney call 520.795.7300 and discuss the particulars of your case.


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