Guardianship of Minor

questions & answers

Question: My daughter passed away from cancer 2 years ago. I took over the care of my grandson, who is now 13 years old. My daughter never left a legal document giving me custody or guardianship of my grandson. My grandson's father is not and has never been in his life. We don't even know where he is or how to locate him. How can I get legal guardianship or custody of my 13 year old grandson?

Answer: You will need to go to court and file a petition for appointment of guardian.  That will give you the legal authority you need to make medical and legal decisions for your grandchild.  You may need to serve papers on the father.  The court will require you to make a diligent effort to find him, but if you cannot, the court will allow you to serve him by publishing a legal notice in the newspaper.   The court does not have child guardianship forms on its website.  You can try to modify the adult forms and do it yourself.  However, especially if you anticipate any opposition, you may want to talk with a lawyer.  There are three programs in Arizona that you can use to get inexpensive legal advice and guidance.  One is the modest means program.  You will need to apply for the program and meet the financial qualifications.  Once you are qualified, Modest Means will send you a list of attorneys whose practice covers your area of concern.  You select a lawyer from the list and will be entitled to a one hour consultation for $75.  If you need additional help and if the lawyer agrees to take your case, the most you will be charged is $75 per hours.  the telephone number is (866) 637-5341.  Both Maricopa County and Pima County have lawyer referral programs that offer a 30 minute consult with an attorney.  Maricopa County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute consult with an experienced attorney for $40.  The telephone number is  (602) 257-4434.  Pima County's Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30 minute attorney consult for $35.  The telephone number is (520) 623-4625.  If you decide you do not need a lawyer, go to  to get the forms.

QUESTIONS

  • My daughter passed away from cancer 2 years ago. I took over the care of my grandson, who is now 13 years old. My daughter never left a legal document giving me custody or guardianship of my grandson. My grandson's father is not and has never been in his life. We don't even know where he is or how to locate him. How can I get legal guardianship or custody of my 13 year old grandson?

STORIES

  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

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