Guardianship

What is a Guardian?

A guardian is a person appointed by the court to manage the rights and property interests of someone who is a minor or considered incapacitated and is at risk of harm because they cannot manage their affairs themselves.  That harm may be an inability to adequately meet nutritional, health, housing needs, physical or financial safety.  There are several reasons a person may require a guardian, such as an elderly person with age-related physical or mental disabilities who can no longer care for himself, or a young person without a parent for care or guidance, or a person of any age who suffers from a physical disease, mental deficiency, or substance abuse.

How Is A Guardian Appointed?

The process is started when an interested party, usually a spouse or family member, files a Petition in Superior Court. The person who will receive the guardian and other interested parties will receive notice.  The court will appoint an attorney to represent the interests of the person, and a physician to examine and provide a written report advising the court regarding the physical and mental condition of the person.

After a formal hearing the court will determine whether a guardianship is necessary and, if so, will appoint a guardian.  The court will also establish the parameters of the guardianship based on the best interests and needs of the dependent person.  The guardian will be required to provide periodic reports to the court concerning the physical and mental condition of the dependent person, and the continuing need for guardianship.

Guardianship of Minors

Arizona has a quick and uncomplicated process for granting guardianship of a minor child for a period of less than six months.  A parent can give a limited power of attorney specifying the scope of the guardianship and the expiration date of the authority.

The filing of a formal guardianship petition is necessary for guardianships of more than six months, or when the rights of the parents have been terminated or suspended by court order, by their written consent, by their abandonment of the minor child for more than six months, or by their death or disability. The Phoenix family law attorneys of Platt & Westby, P.C., have handled several cases in which grandparents obtained guardianship over their minor grandchildren because the parents were imprisoned or unable to care for the child due to substance abuse.

The process is started by the filing of a Petition in the Superior Court by an interested party.  Notice to the biological or adoptive parents, persons who have been granted custody or parenting rights, the Department Of Economic Security, and other interested parties is required.  After a hearing the court will determine whether a guardianship is necessary and, if so, will appoint a guardian.  In the case of children, the guardianship order is permanent, unless otherwise stated in the court’s order.

Speak To A Guardianship Attorney

An attorney can provide you with information concerning your options and the process as it would apply to you specifically.  Contact our office or call 602-277-4441 to speak with one of our experienced Arizona guardianship attorneys at Platt & Westby, P.C., today. 

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