Guardianship of Minor

questions & answers

Question: My sister is in prison for the next year. She shared custody of her 2 children with the father. My parents who my sister and kids are living with have been keeping and taking care of them. Now the father filed for full custody. Do my parents have any rights to apply for legal guardianship? What can we do so we can still have the kids every 3 days?

Answer: ARS 25-409. Third party rights


A. Pursuant to section 25-402, subsection B, paragraph 2, a person other than a legal parent may petition the superior court for legal decision-making authority or placement of the child. The court shall summarily deny a petition unless it finds that the petitioner's initial pleading establishes that all of the following are true:

1. The person filing the petition stands in loco parentis to the child.

2. It would be significantly detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the care of either legal parent who wishes to keep or acquire legal decision-making.

3. A court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning legal decision-making or parenting time within one year before the person filed a petition pursuant to this section, unless there is reason to believe the child's present environment may seriously endanger the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

4. One of the following applies:

(a) One of the legal parents is deceased.

(b) The child's legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.

(c) A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.


B. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, it is a rebuttable presumption that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent serves the child's best interests because of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the child to be reared by a legal parent. A third party may rebut this presumption only with proof showing by clear and convincing evidence that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent is not consistent with the child's best interests.

C. Pursuant to section 25-402, subsection B, paragraph 2, a person other than a legal parent may petition the superior court for visitation with a child. The superior court may grant visitation rights during the child's minority on a finding that the visitation is in the child's best interests and that any of the following is true:

 

1. One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, a parent is considered to be missing if the parent's location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.

2. The child was born out of wedlock and the child's legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.

3. For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.

4. For in loco parentis visitation, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.

The information provided is for general purposes.  You may wish to speak with an attorney to see what rights you may have.


QUESTIONS

  • My sister is in prison for the next year. She shared custody of her 2 children with the father. My parents who my sister and kids are living with have been keeping and taking care of them. Now the father filed for full custody. Do my parents have any rights to apply for legal guardianship? What can we do so we can still have the kids every 3 days?

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