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Guardianship (A.R.S. §14-5204 et. seq.)

It is proper to seek guardianship if:

  • Neither of the child’s parents are alive.
  • The child’s parent(s) is/are legally incapacitated or
  • All parental rights have been terminated by previous court order.
  • Both parents will sign a written, notarized consent to the guardianship.

It is not proper to seek guardianship if there is a parent alive who wishes to parent and whose parental rights have not been previously terminated by court order.

View Petition for Appointment of Guardian and/or Conservator of a Minor (PDF).

Legal Decision-Making in Loco Parentis

Legal Decision-Making in Loco Parentis (A.R.S. §25-409)

It is proper to seek custody in loco parentis if:

  1. You are currently acting as a parent to the child.
  2. You believe it is bad for the child to remain with or to be placed in the custody of either of the child’s parents.
  3. A court has not entered an order concerning the child’s custody within the past year (unless there is reason to believe the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health); and
  4. One of the following is true:
    1. One of the child’s parents is deceased.
    2. The child’s parents are unmarried or
    3. A petition for divorce or legal separation has been filed.

Under the law, there is a presumption that it is the child’s best interest to award custody to a legal parent. To overcome this presumption, you must show by clear and convincing evidence that awarding custody to a legal parent is not in the child’s best interests.

View Petition by Non-Parent to Establish Legal Decision-Making in Loco Parentis (PDF).


Dependency (A.R.S. Title 8 and Rules of Juvenile Procedure)

It is proper to seek dependency if:

  • You believe the child is in danger because the parent(s) has/have neglected or abused the child.
  • You believe the child’s parent(s) is/are unable to care for the child because of mental illness, mental deficiency, or chronic drug or alcohol abuse.
  • The child’s parent(s) has/have abandoned the child.
  • The child’s parent(s) is/are imprisoned for a felony of such nature that proves unfitness (e.g., murder or manslaughter) or
  • The child’s parent(s) has/have relinquished their rights to the child to an agency or consented to adoption.

Dependency is only the first step in an effort to provide for children who are inadequately cared for.  Dependency makes the child a temporary ward of the Court. After dependency has been declared, further proceedings may result in permanent guardianship of the child or termination of the parental rights.

View Juvenile Dependency Petition (PDF).

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