Question: How do I get guardianship of a minor child?
A.R.S. § 14-5204 provides that the court may appoint a guardian for an unmarried minor if all parental rights of custody have been terminated or suspended by circumstances or prior court order. The process for petitioning to become the guardian of a minor can be found at A.R.S. § 14-5207(A). You must serve notice to any subject child who is at least 14 years of age, the person who has exercised the principal care and custody of the child during the 60 days before the date of your petition, and any living parent of the child in question. Under A.R.S. § 14-5206, you must establish that your appointment as a guardian would serve the best interests of the child. If you are not related to the child, you may also be required to submit your fingerprints for a background investigation.
A.R.S. § 14-5209 describes the powers and duties of the guardian for a minor child. Generally, the guardian has the powers and responsibilities of a custodial parent regarding his or her ward's support, care and education. This includes management of the minor's financial assets, and a duty to protect that child's property with legal action if necessary. The guardian may also be required to report back to the court on a regular basis concerning his or her performance.
October 19, 2006