Question: I married a 16-Year Old female (I was 23) last year legally with proper parental consent. I was curious to know what my guardianship/consent rights are when it comes to my spouse being served legal paperwork or court orders by anyone, including myself. She was not emmancipated before our marriage, and I've had to legally be there to sign on her behalf for reasons such as school signup and notarizing items, so I know that I have some consent.
Under A.R.S § 25-503(M)(1), a child is automatically emancipated upon his/her legal marriage, at least for purposes of child support.
It is unclear, however, whether marriage alone will emancipate a minor for all purposes (e.g., signing contracts, participating in lawsuits, etc.) - or simply relieves the child's parents of the duty of supporting the child. If true emancipation is the goal, and your wife wishes to be certain of her "adult" status, then she and her parents should file a petition under A.R.S. 12-2451 that asks the judge to formally emancipate her. Here are links to the Arizona emancipation statutes:
It is odd, however, that schools would insist on your involvement. First, A.R.S § 15-1801 et seq. (which deal with Arizona community colleges and universities, and use unemancipated status of a student in their calculation for awarding or denying in-state tuition) define an emancipated person as one who is no longer entitled to family support as a minor child. We know from A.R.S § 25-503(M)(1) (described above) that marriage accomplishes that goal. So it seems strange that "schools" (as you describe them in your question) should continue to insist on your consent for various documents in the face of proof that your wife is married to you.
Second, even if the schools (or others) felt the need to protect themselves from liability by requiring consent from an adult for their documents, then they should be asking your wife's parents, not you. Marriage itself is a contract between consenting *equals* - no matter what your age disparity may be. Either the schools recognize your marriage or they don't. If they do, then you have no more power to sign a document than your wife does. If they don't, then they apparently regard your wife as a child, which means they should consult with her parents.
December 26, 2006