Guardianship of Minor

questions & answers

Question: My son's biological father pays child support regularly (after being threatened with jail time by a judge) but is completely uninvolved in my son's life - hasn't seen him, talked to him, or asked about him for years. My current husband is an amazing father to my son. I have been researching legal guardianship to give some rights to my current husband since he is the one actively raising my son. What are the benefits/drawbacks to my current husband becoming a legal guardian? Would my ex be released from obligation to pay child support like he would be if my current husband adopted my son?

Answer: These are complex issues and you would be wise to at least talk with an attorney.  The court will most likely not appoint your husband as a guardian because you are present and parenting the child.  You may want to consider giving him a power of attorney to make decisions for the child in your absence.  In order for your present husband to adopt the boy, the biological father's rights must first be terminated, either by a court order or because he voluntarily relinquishes his rights.  As mentioned earlier, these are intricate issues.  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.

QUESTIONS

  • My son's biological father pays child support regularly (after being threatened with jail time by a judge) but is completely uninvolved in my son's life - hasn't seen him, talked to him, or asked about him for years. My current husband is an amazing father to my son. I have been researching legal guardianship to give some rights to my current husband since he is the one actively raising my son. What are the benefits/drawbacks to my current husband becoming a legal guardian? Would my ex be released from obligation to pay child support like he would be if my current husband adopted my son?

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    Referral number 602-257-4434
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