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How Do I File for Guardianship of a Minor?

A grandparent may become a child's guardian if the biological parent is unable to care for the child.
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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 07 July 2014
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The process of filing for guardianship of a minor can differ based on whether you want to become a permanent or temporary guardian, and also on the particular location. You typically need to file certain forms with your local court, though some areas have laws regarding who can file such a petition. In some cases, you will need to be a relative to file these forms unless you can get the applicable child services agency to do it for you. After the proper forms have been filed, the current legal guardian of the minor needs to be served with papers. You will then have to attend court and argue that it is in the child's best interest for you to take guardianship, so it is usually a good idea to retain the services of a lawyer.

There are many different reasons that people seek guardianship for a minor. Temporary guardianship may be required if the child's parent is incarcerated, suffering from health issues, or otherwise unable to render care for a given amount of time. If a parent or guardian is unfit or abusive, you may be interested in seeking the permanent guardianship of a minor. The work required to obtain permanent guardianship of a minor is typically more involved than to be a temporary guardian, and you may need to face the parent or parents in court.

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A number of child advocacy groups and other similar organizations may be able to help you establish guardianship of a minor if the parent is unfit or abusive. This type of aid can be useful to help determine the correct papers to file with which court, and there may be legal assistance available. You typically need to file with a family or juvenile court if one exists in your area, though in some cases a single civil court system handles these cases along with everything else. After the proper forms have been filed and the court costs have been paid, you may be responsible with serving notification of the guardianship challenge to the parents or other current guardians.

The final step to attain guardianship of a minor is typically to attend court and make your case that the parent or other current guardian is abusive or unfit. When filing for temporary guardianship with the parent's consent, this step can be largely a formality. In other cases the parent or guardian of the child may disagree with your assessment and attempt to fight you for guardianship. A lawyer can be very useful in this situation, especially if you lack the legal expertise to convince a judge of your case.

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Discuss this Article

anon313889
Post 3

It's horrible to be mentally abused by someone. It tears you apart and can mentally screw you up for the rest of your life because you don't know what's real and fake and how things should really be. As for being physically abused, nobody should have to be put through that at all.

mlpntr
Post 2

Being unhappy with your parents rules is not grounds for emancipation. It is, in fact, a strong reason a judge will refuse you. There doesn't appear to be proof of abuse and without that there is no abuse. Strict rules and punishment are a parents right over their child and not abuse. Leaving marks from a beating is abuse. Your parents may have a valid reason for not letting you have contact with a boy they do not approve of.

My suggestion, grow up and start following your parents rules. While I don't agree with your bio father being bad-mouthed, it is what it is and you have another year. Make the best of it instead of resisting the authority that you have to live under. Yes, I do think you need help and there are many therapists available for you to talk to.

anon226917
Post 1

I will be 17 years old in February and my father passed when I first went into high school but I was never allowed to see him. My mother always bad mouthed him to me and her boyfriend she's been with since I was four mentally and physically abuses me. My mother doesn't know how to take control of it herself so she allows it and lets him pretend to be my father.

CPS has been called and every time they have came to my house they take my mom and her boyfriend's side. A deputy was with them this last time and did nothing to help me. They are now keeping me from my boyfriend and entire family like a prisoner. I am on the verge of running away or suicide if I don't get help. Where can I find paperwork for being emancipated?

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