How To Become Legal Guardian of a Child
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How To Become Legal Guardian of a Child

Anyone that is interested in learning how to put into place guardianship of a child, there are a multitude of concerns that come with such an important process. You will want to get a comprehension of the legal process necessary to begin, as well as the factors weighed by the court. Keep reading for answers to some common questions about establishing guardianship of a child.

How do I establish guardianship of a child?

The way of establishing guardianship of a child is by filing papers with the courts. You will want to file a request stating your interest in attaining guardianship in addition to a filing fee. You will also need to file a letter of consent from the parents of the child.

After you have filed your request, the court will schedule interviews with you and maybe the child, the child’s parents (if they can), and anyone else that may be interested. In many cases, the court can order a home visit or assessment, and a criminal background check of the potential guardian is typically carried out.

Once you get the judge’s approval of your guardianship request, they will present you with an order to establish guardianship. Look into your local government’s website for directions; many have forms available for download, for you to fill out, and file within the courts.

Am I able to name a legal guardian for my own child(ren)?

Yes, and doing so is a good idea. In case of the untimely event that you become incapable of raising your children, you will need to establish a guardianship for them with an individual you trust. The preferred way to do this is to make it clear in your will.

Choose an individual you trust and add a provision in your will that you wish that individual to raise your children if you ever become incapable of doing so. Inside your will, designate one individual as guardian and one individual as a replacement (in the case the first individual can’t take on the role) for each of the children. It is legal to decide on a different guardian for each of the child(ren). You are able to even establish more than one guardian for one child, although this has the possibility to create problems if the co-guardians ever come to a disagreement. Designating a married couple usually works well, but name each of them in your will to guarantee that they will have legal custody/power in making decisions for your child(ren).

When Deciding on a legal guardian, the guardian must have these attributes:

  • Needs to be a legal adult;
  • Needs to be physically capable to fulfill their responsibilities;
  • Needs to have sufficient time to care for the child(ren); and
  • Needs to be able to bear the expense of raising your children, through their own income or through assets you bequeath for the care of the child(ren).

Am I required to clarify my choice of legal guardian for my child(ren)?

It is wise to leave a letter of explanation for judges that might question your selection of legal guardian. Since judges apply the best interest of the child customary, it’s sensible to explain why the guardian you selected is in best interest of your child. Judges take into consideration the following:

Who the child prefers;

  • The individual that can best meet the child’s needs, consistency, and continual care;
  • The relationship among the child and possible legal guardian; and
  • The ethical character, fitness, and behavior of the possible guardian.

What happens when the parents of the child do not consent? Am I able to establish guardianship of the child?

Typically, guardianship is only awarded if:

  • The parent’s consent (each of the parents, unless only one is at hand);
  • The parents have deserted the child or have had their parental rights removed; or
  • The judge determines it would be in the child’s best interest to remove them from the custody of the parents.

Certain circumstances will come up that allow you to acquire legal guardianship of the child regardless of the parents’ protests. In a lot of cases, this involves demonstrating the parents are unsuitable to care for their child(ren).

Apart from the parents, other family members of the child’s do have the right to be notified and to protest to your pursuance of guardianship. Even though you aren’t required to get consent from all of those relatives, their protests could be harmful to your pursuance of guardianship of the child(ren) (and could create strain even if guardianship is awarded). When this happens, make sure to speak to an attorney sooner than later.

How taxing are the responsibilities of being a legal guardian?

It’s not a piece of cake being a child’s legal guardian. There are a lot of obligations, comprising of financial responsibilities and spending time with the child. When the child(ren) biological parents are still living and even now have rights to their child, like physical custody or visitation, then they will be financially obligated to the child(ren). When their rights have been nullified, then they will owe nothing towards the care of the child.

In a lot of cases, you are taking on every responsibility of a parent. Prior to taking on the role, think about the following questions:

  • Am I sure I want the continual responsibility of a legal guardian?
  • Am I prepared to be fully liable for the child’s conduct?
  • Am I sure I want to act as the legal parent of the child for the entire guardianship?
  • Are the parents going to be in support of my guardianship, or be bitter?
  • How is the guardianship going to influence my own family, health, my job, and life as a whole?

Turning into the legal guardian of a child is an enormous responsibility with a lot to think about. Consider thoroughly about the above questions and plan appropriately.

Voice Your Thoughts About Establishing Guardianship of a Child with an Attorney

You wish to request for guardianship. You know you can deal with the task and are willing to do whatever is necessary to turn that dream a reality. However, guardianship laws can be confusing, and you’ll want to do everything correctly the first go ‘round. An ideal first step is to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney that can assist you in devising a future pln of action. Begin today and locate a family law attorney near you.


  1. How to Establish Guardianship of a Child FAQs. (2019, December 06). Retrieved January 21, 2021, from

Arizona Family Law

Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.

There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.

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