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.
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.