Safeguarding Your Children

As a parent, your main concern is the well-being of your children. If your children are going to be under the care of a temporary caregiver, it is only natural to worry about their safety. Luckily, Arizona has two options, a parental power attorney and temporary guardianship, that can help ease your concerns. Which option is best for you will depend on your unique circumstances. An experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney can guide you through the process and help you make the choice that works best for your family.

Safeguarding My Children

What is a Parental Power of Attorney in Arizona?

In Arizona, a parental power of attorney (sometimes referred to as a delegation of parental powers) grants another adult temporary authority over your minor child. You can choose to broadly delegate all parental rights or limit the agent’s power to specific parental responsibilities. Examples of specific parental responsibilities that you could delegate include consenting to medical care or enrolling the child in school. Under Arizona law, you cannot delegate the power to consent to the marriage or adoption of a child in a parental power of attorney.

There is a time limit on parental powers of attorney in Arizona. In general, it must end not more than six months after the start date. There is an exception for active-duty military personnel. These individuals can extend the parental power of attorney for up to one year.

Although a parental power of attorney can last up to six months (or one year for military personnel), you can limit the parental power of attorney to a shorter time period. Furthermore, as the parent, you revoke (cancel) the parental power of attorney at any time and for any reason.

Creating a parental power of attorney is relatively simple in Phoenix. The parent should get the Power of Attorney packet at the Maricopa Superior Court and complete the two-page parental power of attorney form. The form must be signed in front of a notary and a witness over the age of 18. The parent should keep the original and give a copy to the agent and any relevant organizations or individuals.

The parental power of attorney is not a transfer of custodial rights, and it does not require a court order.

What is Temporary Guardianship in Arizona?

A temporary guardianship appoints a legal guardian to your minor child for no more than six months. Under Arizona law, the temporary guardian is typically allowed to make all physical and legal decision-making for the child during this period. Unlike a parental power of attorney, you cannot specify which parental responsibilities you want to delegate. Instead, it transfers all custodial rights for a limited time period.

A temporary guardianship is different from a permanent guardianship that terminates all parental rights.

In contrast to parental power of attorney, a temporary guardianship requires a court order. A parent or guardian living in Phoenix needs to file for temporary guardianship with the Superior Court of Maricopa County. In general, if the request for temporary guardianship is voluntary, the parent will need to file the following three documents with the court:

1. Probate Cover Sheet. It provides basic information about the prospective guardian and intended ward.
2. Petition for Temporary Appointment of a Guardian. The actual petition for temporary guardianship includes a detailed explanation for why you are filing.
3. Affidavit of Person to be Appointed as Temporary Guardian. The affidavit affirms the prospective guardian’s eligibility for guardianship under penalty of perjury.

When the parent files the forms with the court clerk, they will have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot pay, you can request a payment plan.

When Do You Need a Parental Power of Attorney or Temporary Guardianship?

You should consider getting a parental power of attorney or temporary guardianship anytime your children will be in the care of another adult for an extended time. Some examples of situations where these documents could be helpful include if:

• Your employer asks you to go overseas for several months;
• You have a surgery scheduled and will be unable to care for your child for several weeks; and
• Your children are spending the summer with their grandparents.

Speak with An Experienced Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions about parental power of attorney or temporary guardianship, you should speak to an experienced local attorney. Nicole Pavlik is a Phoenix estate planning attorney experienced in these areas. Call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at 602-635-6176 to schedule a consultation.

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