Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Background Check Required for Non-Relative Seeking Appointment as Guardian of a Minor

Pursuant to A.R.S. 14-5206.B., "[b]efore the court may appoint as guardian a person unrelated to the minor, the court shall, in order to determine the applicant's suitability as a guardian, require the potential guardian to furnish a full set of fingerprints to the court to enable a criminal background investigation to be conducted."

The person who wishes to be named guardian must undergo a criminal background investigation before the hearing on the petition to appoint a guardian. The court or clerk will forward the background check application, fingerprint card, inventory sheet, and processing fee directly to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which conducts criminal history records checks pursuant to A.R.S. 41-1750 and applicable federal law, and is authorized to submit fingerprint card information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history records check.

Upon completion of the background check, the Department of Public Safety then forwards the results to the court before appointment of a non-relative as a guardian for a minor occurs. The background check may take six to eight weeks to complete once the Department of Public Safety has received the paperwork from the court or clerk.

In most counties, the clerk's office is charged with the responsibility of distributing the fingerprint cards and instructions for fingerprinting to applicants for appointment as guardian. In Maricopa County, the Probate Court Administrator's Office handles the fingerprinting process.

In my next entry, I'll offer some practical advice regarding the fingerprinting procedure.


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