Probate guardianship of the estate is the appropriate judicially supervised proceeding for the management of a minor’s estate and the minor needs money during minority for support and/or education.
Probate guardianship of the person is the appropriate judicially supervised proceeding for the person if in the four common scenarios and no alternatives apply or are appropriate and there is a responsible friend of family member who is already caring for the minor and the relative or friend is willing to assume legal responsibility for the minor without adoption and the parents either do not oppose or parental custody would be detrimental.
The four common scenarios are orphans, preventing abuse or neglect, if the child has resided in the home of and has bonded with a non parent adult and for a technical change in custody.
The rules, practice and procedure in guardianship are always changing. It is essential to use a licensed attorney who has experience in guardianship and continues to be current with the law and procedure.
There are several alternatives to a guardianship and these are listed below. In the analysis of whether to incur legal fees, costs and the time of litigation these should be considered fully. Only a licensed attorney who is experienced will be able to assist. These alternatives include custody proceedings in family law court, dependency proceedings in juvenile court, delinquency proceedings in juvenile court, adoption proceedings, emancipation of minors, care giver’s authority to enroll in school and authorize medical care, minor’s consent to medical treatment and minor’s application to the court for marriage or to enlist in the armed forces, management of the minor’s estate by other methods which do not include a court order or guardianship, a petition to the court for an order directing investment of minor’s money belonging to the minor, compromise of a disputed claim and court approval with compromise of money.
There are instances when a temporary guardianship may be applicable. This is when the minor needs immediate medical treatment due to injury or illness, the minor needs to be enrolled in school and both parents are deceased, absent, incarcerated or incapacitated. This is also applicable when the minor needs immediate protection from child endangerment or the minor’s custodial parent is also a minor who is in custody. There are many factual scenarios and only an experienced and licensed attorney can give you proper advice.
When you apply to be a guardian of a child, you begin by filing a petition with the court. The court will order an investigation where you, the parents and, if old enough, the child will be interviewed. Then there will be a hearing in which the court will make a decision as to what is in the child’s best interests.
Having legal representation can assist in making sure the forms are properly completed and that one’s case is properly presented in court.