7 Ways To Lose Custody of Your Child: Moms and Dads
Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody in Arizona

In this article, domestic violence will be defined and its implications for child custody in Arizona will be discussed. After reading this article, if you still have any questions, seek guidance from a family law attorney.

Overview of Domestic Violence

Unless they have the scars and marks to prove it, victims of domestic violence frequently don’t think they are actually victims. They might not use the services offered to assist them. However, according to Arizonan law, a number of actions qualify as domestic violence, including:

Making family or household members fearful they will suffer immediate physical harm; sexually assaulting or seriously injuring a family or household member; attempting to sexually assault or seriously injure a family or household member; and engaging in a pattern of abusive behaviors severe enough to allow a court to issue a protective order for the victimized parent or child.
Physical assault, threats, harassment, intimidation, stalking, wrongful detention, trespassing, property damage, kidnapping, and secretly photographing and watching victims without their consent are just a few examples of behaviors that fall under the definition of domestic violence. Abuse can be verbal, written, telephonic, electronic (such as online), or personal.

The law focuses on protecting members of the family and household. They consist of:

Former and current spouses

People who currently are or previously were in a romantic or sexual relationship, people who currently are or previously were living together, people who have a child together, people who are related by blood or marriage, people who have children together, people who have children together, and people who have a child together.
What constitutes a romantic or sexual relationship is frequently questioned. Judges consider four factors in order to make their decision:

How the relationship is structured

the duration of the relationship, the frequency of the partners’ interactions, and the amount of time that has passed since the end of the relationship.
You can go to court and request a domestic abuse protection order if you’re a victim of domestic abuse. See this information from the Arizona Judicial Branch, which includes the forms you must complete, to find out how.

Several services are offered by Community Resources Arizona to domestic violence victims. The non-profit A New Leaf offers a thorough directory of businesses that provide direct services like shelter-based housing, counseling, and case management. Additional information and resources for victims are listed by the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, a non-profit organization.

The Arizona Department of Health Services has written a fact sheet with hotline numbers for those who have experienced abuse, and the Arizona Department of Economic Security has a Domestic Violence Program that can help victims.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached by victims by dialing 1-800-799-7233. It is accessible every day of the week, round-the-clock.

Domestic Violence and Child Care

Legal and physical custody are the two types. The location where a child resides and receives essential daily care, such as feeding and bathing, is known as physical custody. Legal concerns a parent’s authority to decide critically important matters for a child, such as their health and education.

To decide who should have custody of a child and what is in the child’s best interests, judges must weigh at least eleven different factors. Child Custody in Arizona: The Best Interests of the Child provides more details on the general criteria that courts use to decide these cases. Domestic violence is directly involved in two of the factors:

if there has ever been domestic violence or child abuse, and if either parent has ever been found guilty of reporting child abuse or neglect without having done so.
Evidence of domestic violence is considered to be against the child’s best interests by Arizona’s courts. As a result, it is less likely that a parent who has used domestic violence will be granted custody. In fact, parents cannot share joint legal custody if domestic violence has occurred.

Judges are required to give the victim’s and the child’s safety top priority in the case and to take the offender’s prior history of making threats against or harming other people into account. They must first determine whether it is more likely than not that abuse ever took place. In doing so, courts look at:

Decisions made by other courts

Reports from the police, the medical community, child protective services, domestic violence shelters, schools, and witness testimony.
A “rebuttable presumption” (a legal presumption) that awarding custody to the abuser is not in the child’s best interests must be applied by the court if it determines after reviewing the evidence that one parent used domestic violence against the other parent. The judge must consider all of the following elements before concluding that the offender has disproved that presumption:

whether or not the offender demonstrated that obtaining sole or shared custody is in the child’s best interests
whether the offender successfully completed court-ordered alcohol or drug abuse counseling, or, in situations where drugs are a problem, whether the perpetrator completed a batterer’s prevention program.

Whether the offender is no longer under a domestic violence protective order, whether the offender has committed additional acts of domestic violence against anyone else, and whether the offender successfully completed parenting classes that the court ordered in cases where the offender is on parole, probation, or community supervision.

Visitation Impact

Protecting the victimized parent or child from potential harm is the court’s top priority if the judge finds that domestic violence occurred. Until the abusive parent persuades the judge that parenting time won’t put the child in danger or stunt their emotional growth, they cannot be granted “parenting time” (Arizona’s term for visitation). Even if the court grants the request, it must still ensure the safety of the child and the other parent and may:

order that parenting time exchanges take place in a secure area (for instance, the lobby of a police station).
give a state agency the authority to supervise parenting time, with the provision that another family member or household member may supervise parenting time in certain circumstances.
order the abusive parent to refrain from using drugs or drinking alcohol either during parenting time or for the 24 hours prior to it. Establish any other requirements required to ensure everyone’s safety, such as requiring the abusive parent to pay a bond to ensure the child’s safe return, maintaining the privacy of the child’s and the other parent’s addresses, making the abusive parent pay any expenses related to parenting time, and so on.

Parental Rights Are Terminated

A relative, foster parent, doctor, licensed welfare agency, or the Arizona Department of Economic Security may file a petition asking the court to remove a parent’s parental rights in extremely serious situations where there is a pattern and history of child abuse. When parental rights are terminated, a parent loses all claim to the child’s physical and legal custody.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Physical Custody

There are various forms of custody. After a divorce or legal separation, a child’s living arrangements are referred to as physical custody. It’s crucial that both parents are aware of what these phrases represent and how their custody agreement may be used to impose obligations on them.

Depending on the situation, different agreements will be made for child custody and parental rights. Prior to a custody dispute, parents should be aware of the different types of custody.

The physical custody of a kid is described in general terms in the paragraphs that follow. In the broader context of custody disputes, it also analyzes what physical custody entails.

How Does Physical Custody Work?

The legal and practical obligation of a parent or guardian to give a kid a home is referred to as physical custody. It is frequently decided in family court as a component of a custody dispute. A custody agreement or court decree specifying the parameters of custody may be used for this.

The child’s everyday residence is referred to as having physical custody. It involves making choices on the child’s daily schedule and upbringing, including food, clothing, and bedtime. The court has the discretion to award sole physical custody to one parent. Physical custody may also be shared by both parents. Legal custody is distinct from physical custody.

Legal custody is the authority to make crucial choices regarding a child’s upbringing. Decisions about extracurricular activities, healthcare, and education may fall within this category. A single parent may also be given sole legal custody by the court. Joint legal custody is another option when both parents share custody.

The Child’s Best Interest Standard

The child’s best interests will ultimately take precedence when deciding who will have primary custody of your child. This is the fundamental principle when considering custody arrangements.

This criteria is used by the courts to decide what arrangement will best serve the needs and interests of the kid. The courts will take into account things like domestic violence and drug abuse. When deciding on legal and physical custody, they will also take into account each parent’s capacity to make important choices for the kid.

Schedules for custody and visitation will also be outlined in the parenting plan. The custody arrangement is used to calculate child support. Every child custody dispute is framed by the best interests of the kid criteria. It is utilized to make sure that the welfare of the child comes first.

Right to visitation

The majority of contemporary custody agreements favor joint custody between the parents. This holds true unless one parent is deemed “unfit.” A parent is referred to as “custodial” if they have primary physical custody. The “non-custodial” parent is the other parent. They might be given visitation (sometimes known as “parenting time”) rights.

Some states also provide grandparents certain visitation privileges.

Solitary Custody

But occasionally, the court will grant sole custody to one parent. A parent who is granted sole custody of a kid has the child’s sole physical and legal custody.

Only when the other parent is deemed unsuitable or incapable of raising the child does the court normally grant sole possession. Abuse, drug addiction, and criminal activity are a few examples. The court might provide the other parent some visitation if one parent had sole custody, but it would be far more restricted than in a shared legal/physical custody arrangement.

Do You Need Assistance With a Physical Custody Dispute? Get Legal Assistance Now

A decision about physical custody is usually problematic emotionally. An experienced lawyer will understand how to cooperate with the court to obtain the greatest result for your child. They may be able to offer you useful legal counsel relevant to your particular circumstance.

Find a family law attorney in your area who has experience resolving custody disputes by starting your search right away.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

It’s a strategic decision whether to file for divorce before your spouse does, and one you might be able to avoid if you can file an uncontested divorce.
Is it important who files for divorce first when it’s time to end your marriage? It may be able to: When it comes to deciding some issues in a divorce, the non-moving spouse (the spouse who does not file for divorce) may be at a disadvantage.

Why Is It Important to File for Divorce First?

One (or both—more on joint filing later) spouse must file a divorce petition with the court to begin the divorce process. The petitioner is typically referred to as the “petitioner,” while the non-filing spouse is referred to as the “respondent.”

If you know there’s no way to reconcile, filing first may provide you with some strategic advantages, such as:

The location of the court is your choice. The petitioner gets to choose the jurisdiction (place) for the divorce procedures as long as the petitioner follows state and municipal regulations about where a divorce can be filed. Many states have a residence requirement in place to prevent either spouse from filing for divorce in a state or county that favors one spouse over the other. In Michigan, for example, the filing spouse must have lived in the state for at least 180 days and in the filing county for at least 10 days before the court will consider the divorce petition. (Michigan Comp. Laws, Section 552.9 (2021)) If your spouse files first and lives 100 miles away, you’ll have to travel to their courtroom for any divorce-related matters, which will take more time and money than if you filed first in the court closest to you.

Control over the divorce’s progress. The spouse who files for divorce usually has a little more say in how quickly the divorce proceeds. By filing first, you’ve started the process at your leisure, while your husband is forced to answer according to the court’s schedule. You’ll then have time to plot your next move while your spouse is working on a response.

The opportunity to make a good first impression. The petitioner’s statement concerning the grounds (reasons) for the divorce is included in the original divorce filing. The claims in the petition will be the court’s first exposure to information about the case—and if you file first, it’s up to your spouse to change the court’s first impression.

The first chance to place a temporary order. Before notifying the other spouse of the initial divorce petition, the spouse who files first might seek the court for temporary orders. These orders may place restrictions on what each spouse can do with marital finances or property, provide protection for one spouse against the other, award temporary child custody, or provide temporary child or spousal support. Non-filing spouses will have the opportunity to respond to any requests for orders, but they must do so before or at the same time as their petition response. Non-filing spouses can’t get their own temporary orders until they’ve responded to the petition.

Furthermore, the petitioner will be the first spouse to submit their case at trial in many courts. Being the first to speak at a trial isn’t always advantageous: it allows the opposing side to hear your arguments and prepare a rebuttal.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

In some circumstances, both spouses can come together and make difficult divorce-related decisions without the assistance of an attorney or going to court. There’s no need to hire an attorney if you know you won’t be able to work things out with your husband. However, you may wish to employ an attorney to assist you in negotiating with your spouse or his or her counsel.

Even if you opt to handle your divorce on your own, you can still seek legal advice. An attorney can assist you evaluate if filing first would be advantageous in your instance during a consultation.

Is it always the case that one spouse files first?

Depending on your state’s rules, you may be able to file a “joint” divorce petition (also known as an uncontested or collaborative divorce in some jurisdictions), which implies that both spouses agree to the divorce as well as all divorce-related matters. The couple drafts a divorce settlement agreement and attaches it to their petition. In many states, an uncontested divorce is more efficient than a contested divorce, saving time, money, and relationships.

The following details must be included in your divorce settlement agreement:

  • the reason for the divorce (grounds)
  • each spouse’s portion of the filing fees at the court
  • how you’ll split up your marriage assets and debts
  • whether one spouse will pay spousal support, and if so, how much and for how long

Which spouse will be the primary caregiver for any young children (custodial parent)?

  • a timetable for the non-custodial parent’s parenting time or visitation, and
  • the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent

In most states, the court will approve a divorce if both spouses agree to all of the terms in writing. When minor children are involved, the court may ask the judge to carefully scrutinize the terms before approving them. Nonetheless, the court will allow the custody and support arrangements as long as they are in the best interests of the children.

Mediation Can Assist You in Filing a No-Fault Divorce

Divorce mediation is one option to avoid the headache of deciding whether or not to file for divorce before your spouse. You and your spouse meet with a neutral professional mediator to resolve the issues in your divorce, either in person or online. You will have a written settlement agreement to present to the court at the conclusion of a successful divorce mediation, and you will be able to proceed with an uncontested divorce.

If either spouse disagrees with any of the divorce terms, the case becomes contested, and the pair must follow the state’s contested divorce procedures.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Move Forward After a Divorce

If the time comes when you’re face to face with divorce papers, it can be a difficult time. You entered into your marriage with the hopes that it would last forever. Whether you’ve only been together for a couple of years or a couple of decades, a divorce can happen at any point in a marriage.

Once you’ve made it through the divorce process, one significant question remains – what do you do now? Depending on what your situation is like, that will help answer that question. However, there are a few general points that can help out anyone who just wrapped up a divorce.

Here are some steps to take to help you move forward after a divorce.

1. Mourn the Loss

Even if the divorce was your idea and no matter how long you were together for, you want to allow yourself some time to mourn the end of the marriage. There was something about that person that you initially enjoyed being around, and that can be difficult to let go. Before anything, allow yourself to have some time and space to gather your thoughts and go through the different feelings you may have.

2. Learn to Be Yourself Again

You may read that and think that you know who you are and you’re okay. Learning to be yourself again is more than that though. It also includes working through your feelings and getting used to being by yourself once again.

Depending on how long you were married for, it may take more time than others to rediscover yourself. Spend some time reminding yourself of what you love to do. Maybe you and your friends used to go out all the time, or you had a hobby you forgot about over the years. No matter what it is, embrace what you’ve forgotten.  Create a new here and now and future.

3. Accept You May Be Different

If you found through your rediscovering yourself that you don’t enjoy the same things that you used to before your marriage, which is okay. Part of the process after a divorce is accepting who you are today and that things will be different.

4. Do Something For Yourself

When you’re in a marriage, you live life with someone by your side. Sometimes that can get to be too much and make couples go their separate ways. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do but never did in your marriage, take some time to do it now.

Going through a divorce is stressful. Carrying that stress with you won’t help with anything. So, do something for yourself that makes you happy. Maybe it was a trip somewhere around the world or an exciting adventure your partner never wanted to participate in. Whatever it is, do something that will make you happy.

5. Take Life One Day at a Time

No matter how you feel after your divorce, take things slow for a while. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation in which you realized you’re not ready and you’ve moved too quickly. Take some time to do the things listed above, and wait until you are genuinely prepared to move forward.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Alone

Being alone doesn’t mean you will never see anyone or that you will be isolated. Your just not in a rush to be coupled up. Society accepts singles, sometimes more than couples. This will give you plenty of time to rediscover yourself and work on you!

7. Consider Dating Again

The best way to move forward after a relationship is to start something new. This could be the perfect time to start dating someone new. Move forward without thinking that the new relationship has to be a permanent one. Just have fun!

8. Take On New Roles

Your partner probably handled specific roles in the relationship but now it is up to you to take on all of the responsibility. Don’t look at it like extra work, look at it as a new and exciting venture!

Further Reading


Shaw, Gina. “After Divorce: 8 Tips for Reinventing Yourself.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/life-after-divorce#1.

Canterbury Law Group

The Canterbury Law Group is an experienced divorce lawyer in Scottsdale. We can protect and advise you regarding: Divorce and property division, child custody, child support, child visitation, marital home and real estate matters, allocation of investments, retirement savings, and pensions, personal possessions, valuables, vehicles, closely help businesses, alimony and spousal maintenance, and debt division. To find out how our divorce attorneys can help your matter, schedule your initial case evaluation today.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Legal Guardianship in Arizona


In Arizona, an adult may obtain legal guardianship over a minor or an incapacitated adult with approval from a court. The person for whom a guardianship is established is known as the ward. Legal guardians have specific responsibilities including providing their wards with protection, support and care. Have questions about obtaining legal guardianship in Phoenix or Scottsdale Arizona? Contact Canterbury Law Group’s Guardianship Lawyers today.

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship is an appointment made by the court for a specific entity or individual to make personal decisions and provide care for an adult who is incapacitated or for a minor.

The title given to the person to who a guardian is appointed in the above process is known as a ward.

A ward is an adult who is unable to communicate or express reasoned decisions for themselves to protect their own interests and welfare because of some physical or mental condition. Similarly, minors are made a ward because they cannot legally take those decisions for themselves.

Who Serves As A Legal Guardian?

An entity (for example, a private fiduciary holding a license to act as guardian for someone and receives payment for such a service) or an individual may serve as a guardian of an incapacitated adult or a minor. Usually, a public fiduciary does not act as a guardian on behalf of a minor.

In the case of a minor, the court will appoint a person who will act in the minor’s best interests. A guardian may be nominated by a minor ward who is 14 years in age or older.

Any competent person may be appointed guardian for a person who is incapacitated. Although the law states a list of priorities for this appointment, the court may appoint someone with a lower priority if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the ward. The highest priority will go to someone who has already had guardianship in another county or state. Then from highest to lowest the priority includes the adult nominated by the ward (if the court thinks the ward has the capacity to make an intelligent decision), a person nominated in the ward’s power of attorney, the spouse of the ward, an adult child of the ward, the wards parent, a person who was nominated in a Will or any relative who the ward has lived with for more than six months.

Before being appointed as a guardian, the individual is required to provide background information to the court, such as previous occasions the person acted as a guardian on behalf of someone, any felony history, and other information.

Establishing Child Guardianship In Arizona

In the state of Arizona, a “Consent Guardianship” gives parents the written consent option to grant legal authority of a child to a non-parent. This also allows for the withdrawal of consent and the authority of Guardianship. Also, this also means a non-parent cannot petition for Guardianship if contested by one of the parents. In a situation like this, the non-parent may attempt to establish custody of the child through what is known as a “non-Parent Custody” position. Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you are seeking a Consent Guardianship in Arizona.

Who Grants Legal Guardianship?

In Arizona, the legal guardianship of a minor will be granted by a probate court or a juvenile court. You may think of probate courts as places that oversee proceedings of probate and administering wills. However, these courts also appoint guardians. It is a requirement of Arizona law that individuals wanting to obtain legal guardianship over a minor to give the minor child’s parents and/or custodian a 60-day notice before the filing of a petition for guardianship. Furthermore, an individual wishing to obtain legal guardianship over a minor child must have to prove to the court that the guardianship is in the best interest of the child. When petitioning for the guardianship of an adult, the petitioner also must file in probate court as well. He or she must notify the proposed conservators of the ward, any adult children and current guardians.

How Is Guardianship Appointed?

A guardian may be nominated by any interested person who files for the appointment of a guardian with a court. Additionally, it may be nominated by a Will. An adult who is incapacitated or any person concerned with the welfare of said incapacitated adult may also petition the court for a finding of incapacity and the appointment of a guardian. You can download the forms for obtaining the appointment of a guardian at: https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/ and then clicking on “self-service center” and on “forms.”

Notice of the place and time of the hearing has to be personally served on the potential ward and specified by statute given to the other persons, who include the alleged incapacitated person’s spouse, adult children, parents, anyone currently serving as a conservator or as a guardian or anyone who has custody and care of the person as long as anyone else who asked to be notified and if it is the case there is no one to give notice then the closest living relative will be given notice.

An adult ward named in a petition of guardianship must be represented by an attorney. The ward may also choose to use an attorney with who the ward has a professional and established relationship. Or the court may appoint an attorney on behalf of the ward. The court also must appoint a court investigator and a physician who must submit reports to the court prior to the date of the hearing, after conducting an interview with the potential adult ward. The potential ward is, of course, to be present in person at the live court hearing.

For a minor guardianship, there is not a need for a report from a physician, and no attorney is appointed on behalf of the minor. Additionally, the minor’s parents, in this kind of guardianship must give their written consent to the appointment of a guardian on behalf of their minor child.

In certain circumstances, the court may appoint a guardian temporarily for a specific period or a specific purpose.

When Can Guardianship Be Granted?

Guardianship may be granted by a probate court ifs the parent of a minor child left instructions in their last will and testament. This is known as a “testamentary appointment.” Furthermore, an individual may petition the court for legal guardianship in a case where the court has decided to terminate the parental rights of the ward’s proposed parents. A court may grant legal guardianship when an incapacitated adult requires supervision and care.

How Long Does Guardianship Last In Arizona?

Guardianship may last until a minor child reaches the age of legal adulthood which in the state of Arizona is 18 years old. Usually, if guardianship is objected to by the parents of a minor child and their parental rights have not been terminated, they may petition the court for a guardianship termination, even if they consented previously.  Guardianship is also terminated upon the death of the ward.

Guardian Duties

The responsibilities and powers of a parent are like those of a guardian. A guardian may make personal choices for the ward relating to living arrangements, social activities, education and the withholding of professional or medical care, advice and treatment. The guardian must always ensure the decisions that are made that serve the ward’s best interest. The guardian must always ensure the ward is living in an environment that is the least restrictive in which the ward can remain safe.

The guardian also must submit a written report to the court on an annual basis on the date on the anniversary of the guardian’s appointment. This report must contain information on the living and health conditions of the ward as well as an up to date report from the ward’s physician.

Can You Avoid Appointment Of Guardian?

Often if the adult has executed a valid Mental Health Care Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney for the end of life decisions, a Living Will, it may be that a guardianship is not needed. All these forms can be found under Life Care Planning at https://www.azag.gov/. An adult may only appoint an agent under the power of attorney if the adult is competent enough to understand the power of attorney documentation. Even if the adult successfully completes the living will and powers of attorney, they could still be subject to a guardianship proceeding. If someone thinks the person nominated to be the health care power of attorney is not acting in a way that is in the best interests of the incapacitated person, they can file a guardianship petition with the court.

Two Types Of Legal Guardianship In Arizona

There are two kinds of guardianship a person may petition the court for. However, they are different, and each has specific requirements to be met.

Title 8 Guardianship

  • You do not need the consent of both parents, but Title 8 Guardianships are more difficult to obtain.
  • Against the parents’ wishes, someone may apply for guardianship if they think it is not in the best interest of the child to remain with a legal parent (e.g. the parents are abusing drugs or alcohol or the children).
  • Juvenile court grants the guardianship.
  • These guardianships are permanent meaning the child will remain in your care until they are either 18 years old or the guardianship is revoked by a court order.
  • There will be a hearing when attempting to obtain a guardianship. There will be evidence and testimony involved if a parent disagrees with the guardianship. The court may appoint a person to represent the child and make recommendations to the court as to what the best interests of the child are.
  • These guardianships are also more difficult to terminate. Whoever wishes for a termination of the guardianship, must file a petition to do so. Once again, a hearing will be set, and testimony will be taken to determine if it is in the best interests of the child to terminate.

Title 14 Guardianship

  • Although easier to obtain, Title 14 Guardianships must have the consent of both legal parents. The only exception to this is if a parent is deceased or their rights have been legally terminated.
  • These are often used for short term guardianships. For example, if a parent is vacationing, out of town, working or during times of deployment abroad.
  • The probate court grants the guardianship.
  • The guardianship can be ended at any time by the legal parent. It is virtually impossible to prevent them from ending the guardianship.
  • The legal parent must request through the court revocation of the guardianship and a hearing is then scheduled.

What Type Of Guardianship Is Best For Your Situation?

Guardianships are often complex and complicated especially when a legal parent contests the guardianship. You will want to consider the situation carefully before filing for the guardianship of a child. If you are aware both parents want only a temporary guardianship and both are willing to give consent to this, you will want to file a Title 14 Guardianship.  Even with the consent of both parents but you require the guardianship to stay in place for an extended period, then you’ll want to file a Title 8 Guardianship. If both parents are non-consenting, you have no option and indeed are required to file a Title 8 Guardianship.  There are no guarantees that you will prevail at court.

How Long Does The Guardianship Process Take In Arizona?

This is dependent on the kind of guardianship you are filing and whether you have the consent of the parents or not. Both Title 14 and title 8 move very quickly indeed if both parents give their consent. It may even be completed within the time frame of just one month. However, if a parent does not give consent, understand there may well be multiple hearings scheduled together with evidence gathering and investigations. This can all take several months or a year to complete and assemble. Therefore, it is very likely you will not have guardianship immediately. In the case that you believe this is an emergency, you can request the court put in place a guardianship that is temporary until all the other steps are completed for it to become permanent.

Do You Need An Attorney To Obtain Guardianship?

If you have the consent of both parents and you are good at handling paperwork, you should be able to accomplish this on your own. However, if you are not especially detail-oriented and one of the parents is not consenting, it is highly recommended you speak with an attorney who has dealt with both Title 8 and Title 14 guardianships.

Non-Parent Child Custody In Arizona

In Arizona, Arizona Revised Statute §25-415 entitled “Custody by Non-Parent define who and how a non-parent can gain custody of a child that is not theirs. A non-parent can file a petition in the County Superior Court where the child permanently lives or is currently located. The petition must include detailed facts that support the Petitioner’s right to file the petition, and they have an obligation to provide notice to all the following:

  • The parents of the child.
  • A person with visitation rights or Court ordered custody.
  • The child’s Guardian ad Litem or guardian.
  • An agency or person that has physical custody of the child or who claims to have visitation or custodial rights.
  • Any agency or person who has previously appeared in the action.
  • The Court will summarily deny the petition unless it discovers the Petitioner pleadings establish all the following are accurate and true:
    • The person who files the petition stands in loco parentis to the child.
    • It would be “significantly detrimental” to the child to remain or be placed in the custody of either the living legal parents of the child who wishes to obtain or retain custody.
    • A Court of competent jurisdiction had not approved or entered an order concerning the custody of the child within one year before the person who filed the petition under this section unless there is a reason to think the child’s current environment may seriously endanger their physical, moral, emotional mental or moral health.
  • Or if any single one of the following applies:
    • One of the legal parents is deceased.
    • The legal parents of the child are not married to each other when the petition was filed.
    • And when there’s a pending proceeding for Dissolution of Marriage or for Legal Separation of the legal parents at the time of the petition being filed.

There is a “rebuttable presumption” available if a person other than the legal parent of the child is seeking custody that it is in the best interest of the child to award custody to the legal parents because of the psychological, emotional and physical needs of the child to be reared by the legal parent of said child. To rebut this presumption, the non-parent Petitioner must chow “clear and convincing evidence” that the awarding of custody to the current legal parent is not in the best interests of the child. Additionally, the Superior court may grant a person who stands as loco parentis to a child. This would include grandparents and great-grandparents, who meet the requirements of: Arizona Revised Statute §25-409 – this assures “reasonable visitation rights” to the child on a finding that it is in the child’s best interest to receive visitation and that any of the following are true:

  • One of the legal parents has been missing for at least three months or is deceased.
  • The legal parents of the child are not married to each other at the time of the filing of the petition.
  • There is a proceeding that is pending for Dissolution of Marriage or the Legal Separation of the legal parents at the time the petition was filed.

A grandparent or great-grandparent who stands in loco parentis to a child may want a proceeding for Visitation Rights with a child. They must file a Verified Petition in the county where the child has been found or is a permanent resident. Click Grandparent’s Rights to learn more about the options available for Grandparents Visitation. For a free initial consultation contact us by email or call The Canterbury Law Firm for an appointment, today!

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.


  1. State Bar of Arizona. “A Guide to Guardianship and Conservatorship.” State Bar of Arizona, www.azbar.org/legalhelpandeducation/consumerbrochures/aguidetoguardianshipandconservatorship/.
  2. Redsteer, Andrine. “Legal Guardianship in Arizona.” LegalZoom Legal Info, 21 Nov. 2017, info.legalzoom.com/legal-guardianship-arizona-21520.html.
  3. “Quick Guide to Guardianship Types in Arizona > My Modern Law.” My Modern Law, 12 Jan. 2018, mymodernlaw.com/quick-guide-to-guardianship-types-in-arizona/.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

Written by Canterbury Law Group

6 Ways to Help Your Kids Cope Through a Divorce

A divorce is not something you plan for when getting married. Unfortunately, many families face divorce at some point. Going through a divorce can be highly stressful for both parties involved, children especially.

Every divorce will affect kids in some way, whether it be through sadness, anger, frustration, or even worrying. However, as their parents, you can help your children cope with the divorce process so that they use this as a growing experience.

Talking with your divorce lawyer in Scottsdale will help to give you the best advice for your situation. There are also the following top six tips that you can use to help your children cope with a divorce.

Inform the Kids of the Divorce

It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it is essential to talk to your children about the divorce. They’ll need to know that mom and dad will be living apart. Explain why you made this decision and that it was never caused by them. Keep the conversation appropriate for the age, temperament, and maturity of the child. Stay positive, stay optimistic—do not drench the children in negativity.  To the contrary, tell them they have a new optimistic life ahead.

Let Them Speak

It’s important that kids can express how they feel in these types of situations. This will mean the parents, both if possible, sit down and listen to them and acknowledge their feelings. If they are struggling, help them put how they feel into words.  Provide the children with counseling if needed.  They must repair their internal feelings immediately to avoid long-term emotional scarring.

Be Their Support System

Although you’ll have so many things going on in your life with a divorce, it’s crucial that you remain a strong support system for your children. Be there for them, talk to them, ask what will help them feel better.  Do NOT complain about the divorce, or your spouse, or the lawyers or the court—these kids have enough to deal with if you must vent, do so with capable adults, not your own children.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

If your children see you upset or stressed out, it will start to seriously affect them. As their primary emotional support system, trying to be as calm and collected as possible will be more beneficial in helping your children cope with the divorce. Approaching the situation angry and frustrated will only get them agitated.  Vent your deeper feelings on your own time, in your own space, and not within the sight line of your kids.

Be Kind to Each Other

Kids hear, see, and remember almost everything. You would be shocked to walk in their shoes for 24 hours.  If they see you and your partner actively arguing, or if you’re speaking poorly about your life partner when they’re not around, there’s a good chance that they’ll pick up on these things. Being kind and civil to each other will help prevent putting your kids in a difficult situation, or feeling like they need to choose sides.  Take the high road.  Stay silent when the kids are in the room and handle your “adult business” only with adults in the room.

Reassure They Are Loved

In the end, it’s important to reassure your kids that they are always loved by both parents no matter the divorce outcome. Explain the new living arrangements and express that while you’re with one parent, the other parent still loves them.  Money and property rights come and go, your children are the bedrock of your life today and into the future.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Five Ways to Keep Your Marriage Alive and Well

There is absolutely no doubt that sustaining a healthy marriage is a challenging feat. Having said that, there is a myriad of things that you can do to maintain a happy and flourishing marriage. Divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend considering the following points about maintaining a lively and happy marriage.

Find your bliss

While you and your spouse love each other, you (and only you) are the one driving your happiness. Thus, you should never place that responsibility on your significant other. Take time to understand what makes you happy and what makes you tick.

Take it one day at a time

You should be both honored and ecstatic to be in a loving marriage. As a result, it takes work (on a daily basis) to maintain that fire. It’s important for the two of you to take a few minutes out of each day to express your affection towards one another. Whatever you both deem as intimate should be brought to the forefront each and every day. Ultimately, you should think of this as a daily practice.

Be in the same lane

One of the most critical components of a relationship is making sure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to a variety of issues/topics. Rushing into an engagement without similar outlooks can lead to trouble.

At times, divorce is the answer

While some people refuse to admit that divorce is the best solution, others understand if/when it’s necessary. After all, there really is no reason for everyone to be upset. Think about how much happier people would be if you removed yourself from the equation.

Other times, divorce is not the answer

It is absolutely critical to understand the difference between employing divorce as a means to avoid conflict and a way to legitimately make a situation better. Don’t be one of those people who gets divorced for all of the wrong reasons.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Leading Reasons for Divorce in New Marriages

If you’re in a marriage that’s less than three years old, you’ll likely experience any of the following signs that, of course, may not seem like such a big deal, to begin with.  Over time, these signs can emerge to more serious family issues.  Pay attention.

During the onset of a marriage, you may still be infatuated with each other or may be too deeply in emotional love to see any signs of things going south. Having said that, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend paying attention to the following red flags in order to avoid a potentially catastrophic situation.

You Think You’re Too Good

While it may seem like a funny thought that you think you’re too good for your spouse, dissatisfaction over time will lead you to make mistakes that you may end up regretting. Take another look at your spouse’s great qualities instead of only focusing on the negative.

You Feel Constrained

Do you feel like your marriage is holding you back from achieving your potential? If you feel like you’re being tied down, chances are you’ll seek out opportunities to break out of the cage when your spouse’s back is turned.

Lack of Communication

Communication isn’t just about speaking with one another. Communication is also about understanding each other clearly and learning more about what makes each person tick. Take some time to understand the difference between talking and truly communicating.

Expectations From Each Other

For many people, marriage is the next step in the great cycle of life. Having said that, this is not the case for everyone. When two individuals get married, they have expectations from each other and the relationship. Sometimes, these expectations aren’t mutual and end up distancing two people. This goes back to our previous point about the utmost importance of communication.

Difference in Cultural Backgrounds

Differences in family members, friends, and religious beliefs may seem cute at first. However, all it takes is a few months of suppressed ideas and opposing thoughts to create real problems in a marriage.


Think about whether or not you really trust your spouse. If you find their behavior suspicious, that could be a serious red flag. Trust is an integral part of any marriage. If you can’t trust your spouse, your marriage will not survive in the long haul.

Incompatible Personalities

Both of you and your spouse may be two perfect individuals who are just entirely imperfect for each other. If you have nothing in common, it may be a better option to date other people and cut your losses.  You only can get one journey on this planet, make the best of it while you’re still healthy, attractive and have other options.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Covenant Marriages and Divorces in Arizona

Arizona offers two types of marriages for residents. There’s the standard marriage that a good majority of residents get into. The state offers another form of marriage called covenant marriages. These covenant marriages are different in their legal nature. Unlike with the regular marriages, spouses also need to meet different requirements to later get a divorce. This article will briefly explain what covenant marriages in Arizona are, and how to get a divorce under the laws governing this type of marriage.

What is a Covenant Marriage in Arizona?

A covenant marriage is defined as a marriage between a man and a woman in Arizona. This category is available as an option for those who wish to get married and is not a replacement option for the standard type of marriage offered in the state. However in covenant marriages, the two parties enter into the marriage only after signing a written legal declaration stating the intention to enter into a covenant marriage and that they have satisfied certain requirements through premarital counseling provided by a member of the clergy or a licensed marriage counselor.

The legal statement is binding on both parties and strict rules govern how the spouses in a covenant marriage can later get a divorce. Unlike with regular marriages, where separating spouses are not required to cite the reasons for wanting a divorce, separating spouses in a covenant marriage do. Those entering covenant marriages should expect to stay highly committed because legal separation or divorce can be difficult to later achieve.

Dissolution of a Covenant Marriage

The specific reasons under which a court may grant a divorce for a covenant marriage are listed in Arizona Revised Statutes Sections 25-901 to 25-906. There are actually only eight scenarios that legally satisfies valid grounds for an Arizona divorce in a covenant marriage:

  • Cheating or infidelity;
  • One spouse abuses drugs, alcohol or another addictive substance;
  • The other spouse has committed a serious crime that could result in a life sentence or the death penalty;
  • One spouse has abandoned the family and has not been home for at least a year;
  • One of the spouses have committed a sex crime, mainly sexual assault, against a related person;
  • The spouses have been living separately for at least two years and do not intend to live together again;
  • The spouses are legally separated (different from divorce) and have been for at least a year;
  • Both spouses strongly want a divorce.

The courts do not grant divorces in covenant marriages unless the parties specifically qualify for relief under any of the above listed statutory mandates.

Getting a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage and Child Custody

Because divorces under covenant marriages are granted under very specific qualifying specifications, separating spouses must get Family Law help in Scottsdale. The proceedings can be complicated if the spousal dispute includes the custody of children and if there are complex debt or property issues involved. Furthermore, prenuptial or postnuptial contract agreements could further complicate things.

If you are in a covenant marriage, it is not impossible to get a divorce. Consult with a qualified lawyer who specializes in covenant marriages