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Guardianships

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship proceedings are where a person, who is not the natural parent of a child, seeks custody of a child and/or the power to manage the child’s property. Such hearings typically take place in probate court, but sometimes may be heard in the juvenile court.

Types of Guardianship

There are two types of guardianship proceedings.

A guardianship of the person is filed to appoint someone, who is not the parent of the child, to care for the child and make every day decisions regarding the upbringing of the child, such as decisions regarding education, health care, and extra-curricular activities.  This person essentially steps into the shoes of the parent and is legally responsible for the child’s well being and will have both “legal” and “physical” custody.

A guardianship of the estate is filed to appoint someone to make decisions regarding the child’s property such as income, investments, or personal property. The guardian is responsible for managing the minor’s finances, protecting the minor’s assets, and filing accountings with the Court.

What is the process to becoming a Guardian?

To start the guardianship process, various forms must be completed and filed with the Court,  including but not limited to:

  • Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor;
  • Guardianship Petition;
  • Duties of Guardian;
  • Declaration under UCCJEA;
  • Notice of Hearing;
  • Confidential Guardian Screening Form

Additionally, the probate court requires an investigation into the person seeking to be appointed as guardian. Also the person seeking to be appointed guardian must give notice to all relatives of the child. After the filing of all of the requisite forms and notice to all relatives, a hearing will be set by the court to determine if the guardian should be appointed.

Guardianships are very complicated family law matters. It is best to hire an attorney with the experience and expertise to handle such important issues. The attorneys at Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP have assisted in many successful guardianship cases. For more information, please contact our office at (619) 284-4113 to set up your free consultation.