To File a Juvenile Dependency
- You want to file a Dependency Petition, AND,
- You believe that there is no parent or guardian willing or able to provide proper care and control over the child(ren) to be included in this petition, AND
- You believe that you are a fit and proper person to care for the child(ren), AND
- You believe the Court, not the parents, should say when the dependency is to be terminated (ended), AND
- The child(ren) lives in Maricopa County or you have talked to a lawyer who has advised that you can file a Dependency Petition in Maricopa County.
A. If you are the mother or father of the child(ren), you may not use this packet to establish or change a legal decision-making (custody) order.
B. Department of Child Safety, DCS, will be involved. Dependency is an emergency action for the safety of the children involved. DCS will investigate and make recommendations to the Court. If DCS does not feel the person petitioning for Dependency can provide a proper home for the children, this petition could possibly result in the children being placed in foster care.
C. If the child(ren)'s parent or parents agree (or at least will not come to court to disagree), you may want to consider filing a petition for Guardianship instead of Dependency. Basically, Guardianship is granted with the permission of the parents and may continue until:
- one of the parents or the guardian asks the Court to end the guardianship; or
- a replacement ("successor") guardian is appointed; or
- the child for whom the guardian was appointed turns 18.
- If you have questions about the difference between Dependency and Guardianship read the "Dependency vs. Guardianship: Important Information You Need to Know" document in this packet and contact a lawyer for help.
This packet contains court forms and instructions about filing a juvenile dependency petition.
Dependency Forms & Instructions - JVD1
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