What would you do if your company took you overseas for six months at a time and you couldn’t bring your child? Or you have surgery scheduled and are unable to care for your child for several weeks? Beyond that, how would you handle a situation in which you knew a child in your family was in serious danger because of their living situation? In all of these cases, establishing a temporary guardianship in Arizona may help. A temporary guardianship in Arizona appoints a guardian to a minor child or incapacitated adult for a period not to exceed six months. This post discusses the basics of this process and how to file for a temporary guardianship in Arizona.
Please note: This article is not intended to be legal advice. You should always talk to a family law attorney about your unique situation.
What’s the difference between a permanent and temporary guardianship in Arizona?
A legal guardianship is appointed by the court to give a person the authority to make personal decisions for a minor child or incapacitated adult in their life. The person who has the authority to make those decisions is the guardian. The minor child or incapacitated adult is called the ward. Financial matters fall under a different—but similar—legal category: a conservatorship.
It is important to distinguish between permanent and temporary guardianship in Arizona. The courts define them as follows:
1. Permanent guardianship: Permanent guardianship terminates parental rights permanently. Generally, it allows a qualified adult to make all major decisions concerning a minor child or incapacitated adult.
2. Temporary guardianship: Temporary guardianship in Arizona typically allows a qualified adult to make physical and legal decisions for a minor child or incapacitated adult for a period not to exceed six months.
The court can assign a permanent guardian for a child many different reasons. These include voluntary parental termination of rights, a ruling from the court, or adoption from foster care.
Court-ordered temporary guardianship
Temporary guardianship in Arizona can be voluntary. However, it may also be awarded due to one of four reasons (from Arizona statute Title 8-821). A child may be removed from the home if the child is:
– A victim or will imminently become a victim of abuse or neglect in the time it would take to obtain a court order for permanent guardianship
– Suffering serious physical or emotional injury that can only be diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist
– Physically injured as a result of living on premises where dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs are being manufactured
– Reported by the department to be a missing child at risk of serious harm
Incapacitated adults may also need temporary guardians, too. This can happen either voluntarily or involuntarily if the adult is in danger.
What do you need to file for a temporary guardianship in Arizona?
Before you begin the process of applying for temporary guardianship in Arizona, it is important to gather some information.
What follows is a basic overview of what you’ll need. It’s important that you talk to a family law attorney for more specific information about your case. This is critical with contested guardianships.
Who’s eligible for temporary guardianship?
When temporary guardianship is voluntary, there are many different options for eligible guardians. Relatives and trusted friends are eligible temporary guardians. Minors who are 14 years old or older may nominate their own guardian.
The court can also establish temporary guardianship in the case of an emergency. If no eligible family member is able to care for a minor child, a judge can name unrelated individuals or private entities as eligible guardians.
In some cases, temporary guardians in Arizona are named in a last will and testament.
Who’s not eligible?
Prospective guardians must be able to prove that their interest in becoming a guardian is not for any personal gain.
Convicted felons are not eligible to act as guardians. Further, those who are in or have contact with any business listed in the Adult Protective Services Registry are not eligible.
Finally, those who have been removed as a guardian previously may also not be eligible.
Arizona temporary guardianship forms
You can find many Arizona guardianship forms online. These can help make the process of filing for temporary guardianship in Arizona a little easier. All forms are available in both English and Spanish PDFs.
Start with the temporary guardianship instructions packet from the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County.
This four-page document lays out everything you need to know. It also lays out the steps of the process in order. The forms tell you what documentation you need. They also tell you how to fill out the forms themselves.
If your case is straightforward, you may be handle to handle this process yourself. For those in Maricopa County, you’ll need to file the following forms before a hearing:
1. Probate Cover Sheet: This offers basic information about the prospective guardian and the intended ward (note: make sure you indicate that you are filing for temporary guardianship, and not a conservatorship)
2. Petition for TEMPORARY Appointment of a Guardian and/or Conservator: This is the actual petition for temporary guardianship in Arizona, and allows for a more detailed explanation of why you are filing for one
3. Affidavit of Person to be Appointed as TEMPORARY Guardian and/or Conservator: This affidavit affirms, under penalty of perjury, a guardian’s eligibility for guardianship
If you receive temporary guardianship, you’ll get an Order for TEMPORARY Appointment of Guardian and/or Conservator that lays out the court’s decision and names the guardian and ward, along with the period of temporary guardianship.
You’ll also receive a letter of appointment that will allow you access to your ward’s school and medical records.
Get legal help for contested or complex cases
Getting temporary guardianship in Arizona can be vital to protecting a child’s safety and well-being. The process may seem daunting, though, even for straightforward cases.
If it’s complex or involves children or adults with special needs, it’s even more important that you talk with an attorney who specializes in family law for help.
ARTEMiS Law Firm is a firm of award-winning Scottsdale attorneys who can help you with your temporary guardianship case, especially if it is complex and requires special attention. Get in touch today for more information.Contact Us