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Child Protective Services/Dependency, Guardianship,  In Loco Parentis, and Grandparent's Rights

There are certain times when parents are unable to properly care for their children, or when during certain proceedings, grandparents are denied access to their grandchildren.  There are various types of cases to help with each type of scenario.

Child Protective Services/Dependency

In Arizona, if there is not one parent who is able or willing to provide effective parental control over a child, Child Protective Services (CPS) may become involved. This does not necessarily mean that a parent is inappropriate. For example, if a child has special needs, is out of control, or is a danger to others, even with the best of parents CPS may become involved to help that child.  In either case, services may be voluntary without court interaction, or with court interaction. Children may be removed from the home, but at times they are allowed to remain in the home of the parents. Certain laws also give priority to certain placement types depending on familial relationships, and whether a child is an enrolled, or enrollable member of a Native American Tribe.

The foster care system is a maze.  My office has effectively represented hundreds of children, parents, and foster parents to help them navigate through this very difficult and complicated system.


There are two types of guardianship in Arizona.  The permanent guardianship emanates from a dependency over time.  The juvenile, or probate, guardianship is the second type.  Different laws apply to each, and different burdens of proof and standards apply to set aside, or vacate, each type of guardianship.

In Loco Parentis

Arizona has an in loco parentis statute which allows a person who stands in the stead of the parent to either have custody of, or access to, a child.  This type of action if often utilized by grandparents or other relatives or caretakers, or a non-biological parent who upon a divorce has no legal right to that child, but yet is very bonded and may be a ‘psychological’ caretaker in the child’s eyes.

Grandparent’s Rights

Due to the animosity often generated by divorce or paternity matters, grandparents on either side often are refused access to their grandchild.  Laws apply to allow judges to grant a request by a grandparent to have a court order for access to a child in these very difficult cases.

How We Can Help

Irrespective of which type of the above actions you desire to pursue, there are many different laws and players which affect your rights.  Each process named above can be an overwhelming maze which, without the proper, sound legal advice, one can become lost.

An experienced family law attorney at the Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen can help inform you of the laws in your state, draft the appropriate paperwork, represent you at the hearing, and ensure your legal rights and interests are protected every step of the way.

Please contact us today for a FREE case evaluation.

Contact Us

Jeffrey M. Zurbriggen

Phoenix Office
301 East Bethany Home Road
Suite C-250
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Tel: (602) 631-4444
Fax: (602) 225-1846

Tempe Office
4645 South Lake Shore Drive
Suite 13
Tempe, Arizona 85282
Tel: (602) 631-4444
Fax: (602) 225-1846