Minor guardianship is a Court process that approves a person to act in place of a parent and take responsibility for a minor. A guardianship can be established for a short time such as while the parent is ill, undergoing surgery, working out of town or during deployment OR it can continue until the minor turns18.
A guardian has the same powers and responsibilities for a minor as a parent. EXCEPT a guardian is not legally responsible for the support of the minor.
The Court may appoint a Guardian if the parents’ consent to the guardianship and the parents cannot care for the minor child, or if there is no living parent.
A guardian can be a relative, friend, or other interested person. The Court will give preference to the person the parent chose to be the guardian or the minor’s choice if the minor is 14 or older.
The Guardian, is responsible to ensure that the minor’s needs are met, including food, clothing, shelter, medical needs, education, social development, and religious
activities. The Guardian provides for the minor’s safety, protection, and well-being.
Put simply: the Guardian is responsible for all of the decisions relating to the minor.
The court process involves filing a Petition requesting to be appointed as guardian. There are a number of forms that must be completed and there will be a court hearing. It is important to obtain the parents’ consent unless they are deceased. If the parents will not consent but they are not able to parent there may be additional issues to evaluate and consider in order to protect the child.
We have substantial experience in juvenile law including dependency, guardianship, termination and adoption cases. If there are challenges related to the parental fitness we can help you assess the legal options that will best meet the child’s needs. It is a difficult and emotional decision to seek guardianship. When you come in for a consultation we will help you understand the guardianship process and explore all of your legal options. Call us today to schedule a consultation 480-348-1590.
Do I have to be fingerprinted? Typically, you do not need to be fingerprinted if you are a sibling with at least one parent in common, grandparent, great-grandparent, or aunt or uncle. Unrelated person applying to be a child’s guardian must provide a full set of fingerprints to have a criminal background check completed.
Who do I have to notify? After filing the petition for guardianship, you must notify the minor’s parents by “serving” the Notice of Hearing. Notice must be given to both parents of the minor, anyone the minor has lived within the past 60 days, and the minor if they are 14 years of age or older.
What are my obligations after being appointed? You must also submit annual reports to the Court. You must notify the court of yours and the minors address.
What happens if the parents want to end the guardianship? If a parent wants to resume care of their minor, they can ask the Court to end the guardianship.
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