How to Establish Guardianship of a Child
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How to Establish Guardianship of a Child

For those interested in discovering how to establish guardianship of a child, there are a multitude of concerns that come with such a vital process. First, you are going to want to get a comprehension of the legal process required to begin not to mention the aspects considered by the court. Keep reading for answers to general questions concerning how to establish guardianship of a child.

What is the process of establishing guardianship of a child?

You are able to establish guardianship of a child by filing paperwork through the court. Primarily, file a petition indicating your interest in acquiring guardianship as well as a filing fee. You are also going to need to file a consent letter from the parents of the child.

After you have filed the petition, the court is going to set up interviews with you and maybe the child, the parents of the child (if available), and anybody else that might have an interest. In many situations, the court might order a home visit or assessment, and a criminal background check of the would-be guardian is typically carried out.

After the judge has authorized your guardianship petition, they are going to give you an order for establishing guardianship. Make sure you check your local government’s website for directions; many even have forms you are able to download, fill out, and file through the court.

Can I designate a legal guardian for my own children?

Absolutely, and doing so is effective planning. In case of the untimely event that you become unable to bring up your children, you need to establish a guardianship for your children with a trustworthy individual. The best way to accomplish this is to dictate it in your will.

Choose an individual that you trust and add a stipulation to your will that you wish for that person to bring up your children should you ever become debilitated. In your will, designate one individual as guardian and one individual as a replacement (in case the initial one can’t fill the position) for each of the children. It’s legal to decide on a different guardian for each of your children. You are also able to designate more than one guardian for one child, though this has the possibility to create problems when the co-guardians can’t agree on certain things. Appointing a couple that is married usually works well, however, name both in your will to guarantee that they are going to have legal custody/authority to make decisions on your child’s behalf.

When deciding on a legal guardian, consider that the guardian needs to have these attributes:

  • Needs to be a legal adult;
  • Must be physically component to fulfill their responsibilities;
  • Has to have plenty of time to take care of your children; and
  • Must be able to afford to raise your children, through their own income or through assets you leave to their children for their care.

Am I required to explain my decision for a legal guardian for my children?

It’s always a wise to leave behind a letter that explains your decision for legal guardian to any judge that might challenge it. Due to fact that judges apply the child’s best interest standard, it’s wise to explain why the guardian you decided on is in the best interest of your child. Judges consider the below:

  • Who the child’s prefers;
  • Who ideally can fulfill the child’s needs, stability, and continual care;
  • The relationship among the child and possible legal guardian; and
  • The ethical character, fitness, and integrity of the possible guardian.

What if the child’s parents don’t give consent? Am I able still establish guardianship of the child?

Usually, guardianship is granted only if:

  • The parent’s consent (both parents, unless one is unavailable);
  • The parents deserted their child, or their parental rights rescinded; or
  • A judge deems it would be in the child’s best interest to remove the child from the custody of their parents.

Specific situations will come up that allows you to get legal guardianship of the child even though the parents’ object. In a lot of cases, this involves demonstrating that the parents are incompetent.

In addition to the parents, the other relatives of the child do have the right to be notified and to challenge your push towards guardianship. Even though you don’t require consent from all these family members, their challenges could be damaging to your push for guardianship of the child (and might create friction even when guardianship is granted). When this happens, be sure to speak with an attorney sooner than later.

How demanding are the obligations of a legal guardianship?

It’s not easy to be legal guardian of a child. There are a lot of obligations, including financial responsibilities and time spent with the child. When the child’s biological parents are still alive and still have rights to their child, like physical child custody and/or visitation, then they will be financially responsible for their child. If their rights have been rescinded, they owe nothing regarding their child’s care.

In a lot of cases, you’re taking on the role of a parent. Prior to taking on the role, think about the below questions:

  • Am I sure I wish for the continual duties of a legal guardianship?
  • Am I willing to accept full liability for the conduct of the child?
  • Do I wish to serve as the legal parent of the child for the entire guardianship?
  • Do the parents support my push for guardianship, or be spiteful?
  • How will the guardianship influence my own family, health, job, and overall life?

Becoming a child’s legal guardian is an enormous responsibility with a lot to think about. Carefully think about the above questions and plan adequately.

Speak with an Attorney Concerning Establishing Guardianship of a Child

You wish to apply for guardianship. You’re sure you can take on the task and are prepared to do whatever it takes to make your wish come true. However, guardianship laws can be complicated, and you’ll want to do everything correct out of the gate. An ideal first step is to get a hold of a knowledgeable family law attorney that can help you establish a future game plan. Begin today and locate a family law attorney in your area.


  1. How to establish guardianship of a child faqs. Findlaw. (2019, December 6). Retrieved May 26, 2022, 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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