If you are considering filing for guardianship of a child, the first step is determining the best guardianship type for your unique situation. Simply put, there are two forms of guardianship: Title 14, voluntary guardianships by consent of the parent, and Title 8, which is more permanent and often results from a dependency petition.

This post takes a closer look at what each form of guardianship entails.

Title 14, Voluntary Guardianship Basics

  1. Can be initiated by a parent.
  2. Requires both legal parent’s consent.
  3. Is not always permanent.

Even within the Title 14 Guardianship, there are three different types: Emergency Temporary Guardianship, Temporary Guardianship, and Permanent Guardianship (despite the name, this is still temporary because the parents reserve the right to revoke). Check out this post to learn more about the differences between these three types of voluntary guardianship.

Title 14, or revocable guardianships, are easier to obtain and can often be a temporary solution to an internal family issue, for example, if a parent is out of town for an extended period of time, recovering from a medical procedure, etc.

It is essential to understand that the legal parents can request through the court to revoke the guardianship at any time, and a hearing is scheduled. It is typically only a short-term guardianship under the parents’ and court’s discretion.

This option does not involve the Department of Child Safety (DCS).

Title 8, Permanent Guardianship Basics

  1. Is often a solution used to end a dependency when parents are not yet fit to parent but their rights have not yet been terminated.
  2. Does not require parental rights to be terminated.
  3. Is more permanent than a Title 14 Guardianship because it is much more difficult for a parent to terminate the Guardianship.

Title 8, or permanent guardianship, are more difficult to obtain. You can not simply apply for a Title 8 guardianship.  You must start with a dependency case and then if appropriate that case may eventually result in a Title 8 Guardianship.

While permanent guardianships do not require a lawyer, they involve copious amounts of complex legal documents and paperwork, which is why advising an attorney is recommended. This type of guardianship is rarely terminated, but the Court can reconsider, revoke, or amend the Title 8 Permanent Guardianship when a parent can prove to the court that he or she is fit to parent.  .

Guardianship in Arizona can be a complicated and misleading process, especially if a legal parent is contesting guardianship. We encourage seeking help from experienced attorneys like Stuart and Blackwell to ensure an outcome in your best interest.