How to file for adult guardianship
A legal guardian, or a person who is not the child’s biological parent, can be appointed by a judge to provide legal protection to a child.
The guardianship process is usually very short and involves only one court hearing.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or is in danger, a guardian can protect you.
Here are some questions to help you prepare.
What is the process?
The process for becoming a legal guardian is different from other family relationships.
Your attorney will review the application and make sure that you have the legal and financial resources to make the right choices.
Who can I contact for legal advice?
The guardians of the child must be legally married to the child, and a court order is needed for them to be in charge of the relationship.
The judge must also give the parents permission to appoint the guardians.
Who is eligible for legal guardianships?
The only people who can be legally appointed to guardianship are parents of children under the age of 18, who have been in a relationship for at least five years, and siblings of the parents.
The only exception to this rule is if the guardian is a minor who is in a foster home, or if the guardianship is for the child to be placed in a daycare.
How long can a guardian be in custody?
A guardian is usually in custody for the life of the person in custody, unless a court orders otherwise.
A court order to place the child in a care facility must be served within two months of the day after the court order was issued.
What happens if I don’t make my request?
The child’s guardian may request a hearing with a judge before the court.
The guardian must provide documentation proving that the child is not in danger and is not physically, emotionally, or mentally disabled.
The court may order that the guardian be removed from the home, but the court must take the request to the full court for a final decision.
If the court grants the request, the court can place the guardian in another location, but must also order that children placed in care must be evaluated by an expert to determine if they are mentally and physically capable of self-care.
Who gets to appoint a guardian?
The judge in the case will decide whether to appoint an individual guardian.
How do I file for guardianship?
If you live in the United States, you may file for an appointment as a legal representative of your child by visiting the nearest US state or territory office.
If your child is in another country, contact the local US state/territory office.
The US Department of Justice website has links to the state/Territory offices where guardianships are available for children.
A US federal judge can issue a protective order.
A protective order is usually granted in cases where the person has a significant risk of harm to the person or property of the other person.
A person can be ordered to stay away from a child or family member if they have a substantial and immediate risk of danger to the other.
What if I cannot find the guardian?
If a child cannot be found, the child can apply for a temporary order of protection.
If a person does not have legal guardian status, the parent may seek the guardians’ help in securing guardianship for their child.
What will happen to my child if I move out?
The person in guardianship has the power to place children in care if the parent’s need for a safe environment becomes too great.
The person has the right to make decisions about the placement of children, including whether to require the child into the care of another person.
Who should I call to make an appointment?
If the child has an imminent threat of harm, contact an attorney.
If there is a history of violence, contact a mental health provider.
If I need more information, I can contact the US Department for Children and Families (DCF) Child Protective Services.
How will the court process my application?
The DCF Child Protective Service handles guardianship cases.
DCF will make a decision about whether to grant guardianship to the individual or family who requests it, but will not make a final determination.
The DCFS staff will review your case and make recommendations to the court, including recommendations for changes to the guardians law and rules.
How does a guardian act?
Guardians must be in control of the situation in the home.
They must have legal and economic resources to be able to protect the child.
How is the child placed in the care?
The court will make an assignment of the guardians care to the designated person.
If an adult who has custody of the children dies, the adult will appoint a replacement guardian.
If, at any time, the DCF has a court hearing, the guardian must be present.
If it is determined that there is an imminent danger to a parent or other family member, the guardians need to be removed.
Who has guardianship rights?
Guardianship rights vary from state