Custody of a Child in an AZ Dependency Case | Legal Custody
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Child dependency can occur when parents are unwilling or unable to provide for a child’s basic needs. Often, establishing dependency is the first step towards severance (termination of parental rights) and establishing new guardianship provisions for the child.


  • Parent (or other legal guardian) has abandoned child
  • Parent has abused or neglected child
  • Parent is destitute and therefore unable to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care to child

If a dependency finding is made during a dependency trial, legal custody of the child is turned over to Child Protective Services, who then determines the best option for the child’s future wellbeing and custodianship.

Cases of child dependency can be fraught with heartache and concern. If you are involved in a situation that involves a dependency hearing, don’t hesitate to call The Valley Law Group for legal representation.

AZ Child Dependency

Child Dependency in Arizona FAQs

What is a dependency hearing in Arizona?

Such a hearing can declare a child dependent. When a child is declared as such, it means the state of Arizona is legally responsible for the child. At the same time, a DCS case is filed. DCS may work with the family to address issues and provide services to support a possible reunion.

At what age can a child decide which parent they want to live with in Arizona?

In Arizona, a child can decide which parent to live with after their parent’s divorce only when the child reaches his or her 18th birthday.

A minor is never empowered to decide which parent to live with or the parenting schedule. However,  a minor’s wishes may be considered by the Court in deciding these issues.

What does adjudication of dependency mean?

An adjudicatory hearing is held to determine if some court action is required. If a child is adjudicated ‘dependent’ in the hearing (the child is without proper care) it allows the court to order services and programs for the child and family.

How long does DCS have to investigate in Arizona?

Once the Department of Child Safety (DCS) has initiated investigation into a suspected report of abuse/neglect, DCS has 60 days to complete the investigation (per Arizona statute).

Learn More About AZ Juvenile Law



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