Ways & How

how to obtain legal guardianship of a child

how to obtain legal guardianship of a child how to obtain legal guardianship of a child

When biological parents can no longer properly take care of their children, or at least uphold their interests, legal guardianship is the remedy. Guardianship is a legal process wherein a third person is entrusted with the care and custody of a child for the time being. When legitimate reasons exist, you must know how to obtain legal guardianship of a child so that your child’s welfare can be best served. Just like signing over parental rights, legal guardianship may either be voluntary or involuntary. To learn more about the process of obtaining legal guardianship, consider the following steps:

  1. Inquire about the legal guardianship procedure. You can visit or call the county courthouse and ask about the prerequisites on how to go through a legal guardianship proceeding. The procedure and the law on legal guardianship may differ from one state to another.

  2. Secure an affidavit from the parent. This is necessary in cases of voluntary guardianship where both parents cannot take care of their children or provide for their best interests.

    The affidavit is the first requisite that kick-starts the whole process of legal guardianship.

  3. Secure a form for Petition for Guardianship. This form is available in the county courthouse where you presently reside. Fill out the form properly and provide the necessary information such as your personal accounts, the child’s personal information, and then attached documents that will prove the parents’ incapacity to take care of their children.

  4. File the petition and pay the filing fees. The duly secured Petition for Guardianship and the necessary attachments must be filed at the county courthouse. Don’t forget to pay the required filing fee. Once properly filed, wait for the processing of your petition. Ask the Clerk of the Court to serve a copy of your petition on the child’s biological parents for them to be properly notified about the petition. Take note of any court hearings that may be scheduled in relation to your petition.

  5. Prepare a home study. In an involuntary guardianship proceeding, the judge will normally require the conduct of a home study and the submission of a report in court. However, this requirement can be dispensed with when the child subject for guardianship has already been living for a period of time with the prospective guardian. The home study report is filed before the court hears the petition.

  6. Prepare for trial. Once the petition is given due course, the county court judge may order a trial, especially if the petition is contested or the incapacity of the parents are in doubt. In such a case, you need to present witnesses to support the allegations in your petition. The judge may also order a home investigation to ferret out the truth as stated in your petition.

  7. Attend hearings and wait for the verdict. Attend hearings as scheduled. Avoid coming to court late. The judge may order the presentation of witnesses and other documents that will support your petition. The judge can determine the veracity of your application by ordering for an investigation to review the surrounding factual circumstances before and after the hearing. Once the judge is satisfied with your petition, the court will grant the same.

The process on how to obtain legal guardianship of a child, whether voluntary or involuntary, is not easy especially on the part of the parents on one hand and on the child on the other hand. Likewise, there is a big responsibility that lies on the guardian to ensure that the child’s interests are best served. Even if the procedure is tiresome, the court cannot simply overlook the child’s welfare and must render an appropriate decision.


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