The legal process of establishing guardianship of a minor child is often overwhelming. For that reason alone, you need the help of a reputable attorney. By hiring an attorney, you can file a petition with the court stating interest in becoming a guardianship. Along with the required paperwork, you must pay a filing fee.
To strengthen your case from the start, your attorney will likely suggest that you obtain a letter from the legal parent or parents of the child giving you consent to move forward. Once everything is properly filed, interviews with the child, his or her parents, and others involved are set up by the court. Depending on the reason that you want to establish guardianship, the court may order an inspection of your home and a criminal background check. This is to ensure the child is going to a safe and loving home.
When establishing for the guardianship of a minor child, the court will do what is ultimately best for the child. Once all of the facts are presented and reviewed by the court, a decision is made. In most states, you are required to accept full responsibilities of the child by signing an oath. If the petition for guardianship is approved and signed off by the judge, an order is filed with the court making you the legal caretaker.
Based on the circumstances of the case, the legal parent or parents of the child has the right to recommend a guardian. While this guarantees nothing, it would help strengthen your position in that it shows you to be a trusted individual. In the event the legal parent or parents do not consent, you may not be granted guardianship. Usually, a judge only allows the petition to go through if one or both parents consent. If the child was abandoned or the parents gave up their legal rights, then you can continue with the process.
To qualify as a guardian of a minor child, you must meet certain criteria. For instance, you have to be a minimum of 18 years old, you must be able to physically carry out duties of raising a child, you need to have adequate time available for the child, and you have to show genuine interest in the child’s wellbeing.
Money is another factor. The court wants to make sure that you are in a financial position to care for a growing child. Although not mandatory, sharing the same morals and beliefs is a huge benefit to you and the minor as well.
When reviewing your petition, the judge will review other things such as the child’s preference and his or her relationship with you. The judge will also determine who is in the best position to provide ongoing and stable care. Even your character will be scrutinized. There are many complexities involved with establishing guardianship of a minor child. This is the time that you need a qualified attorney most. Your attorney will carefully review your case and devise an appropriate plan.