Juvenile Courts

questions & answers

Question: I have a 16 year old daughter who lived with her father and step mother in Arizona while I was recuperating from a heart attack. (I voluntarily gave him temporary custody, and live in a separate state). During the time my daughter lived with them, she was placed on probation. All of the court papers were signed by her step mother, are these documents legal? Does a step parent have the legal right to sign legal papers as a parent or guardian, without being granted guardianship of the child?

Answer: Step-parents have no legal authority to make decisions about their step-children unless it is given to them and generally do not have the authority to give legal consent for a stepchild, unless the stepparent has legally adopted the child or been designated a legal guardian. In Arizona it is possible to temporarily delegate parental powers to another person. A.R.S. § 14-5104 states, "A parent or guardian of a minor or incapacitated person, by a properly executed power of attorney, may delegate to another person, for a period not exceeding six months, any powers he may have regarding care, custody or property of the minor child or ward, except power to consent to marriage or adotpion of the minor."

QUESTIONS

  • I have a 16 year old daughter who lived with her father and step mother in Arizona while I was recuperating from a heart attack. (I voluntarily gave him temporary custody, and live in a separate state). During the time my daughter lived with them, she was placed on probation. All of the court papers were signed by her step mother, are these documents legal? Does a step parent have the legal right to sign legal papers as a parent or guardian, without being granted guardianship of the child?

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