What is guardianship?
Guardianship, also called conservatorship, is a legal relationship created in a will or assigned by the court to grant legal control over a minor or an individual who is mentally incompetent. A guardian may be appointed by a court to look over a minor child and take care of his or her well being as well as his or her finances. Guardianship usually happens when the parents of a child are deceased or one parent is disputing custody. Guardianship can also exist when someone seeks guardianship over an individual who is mentally incompetent and incapable of caring for him or herself.
How do I get guardianship over an individual?
All that is required is that the individual requesting guardianship files the appropriate documents with the probate or juvenile court. When filing the documents you will usually need to know the name and date of birth of the individual and his or her parents. In addition you may need a copy of the child’s birth certificate; marriage certificates; paternity documents; and death certificates of one or both of the parents. Once the filing is submitted to the court clerk then you will get a court date. It is often necessary to inform the biological parent, or parents, of the guardianship matter as well as child services, if they are involved.
Depending on the reason for guardianship the matter will be filed in either juvenile or probate court. Probate court proceedings involving guardianship occur when there is consent or lack of objection by the parents of the child. Juvenile proceedings involving guardianship occur when there is an argument about the ability of the parents to care for the child. Juvenile court guardianship proceedings are much more adverse and are the situations that often require legal counsel.
When I need a Guardianship Lawyer
Guardianship lawyers are often not necessary in guardianship actions. Most of the time getting guardianship involves merely filing with the appropriate court and making a showing of why you are capable of supporting the child or mental incompetent. Proceedings that involve adverse parties and social services are much more adversarial and can require the expertise of a Guardianship Lawyer. A guardianship lawyer should be retained if you are seeking guardianship from a former spouse or other individual with care over a child who is deemed not to be fulfilling their duties as a guardian. A guardianship lawyer should also be retained when the individual is mentally incapacitated but over the age of 18.
The latter is a very complex issue that will require the person seeking guardianship to prove the mental incapacity of the individual and show that they are not capable of functioning on their own. A guardianship lawyer will investigate medical records, financial documents, criminal offenses and other documentation to aid in showing that the mentally incompetent individual is either incapable of taking care of him or herself; incapable of managing his or her finances; or both.
Guardianship Lawyers are often necessary in situations where an individual is disputing a court appointed guardian. When there is corruption, negligence or recklessness involved in the care of an individual by his or her guardian it is a good time to consult a guardianship lawyer. The guardian may be managing the individual’s personal finances in a haphazard manner and it is important to have that guardian removed and replaced as soon as possible. A guardianship lawyer is the most equipped to get this accomplished in a quick and efficient manner.
How do I find Guardianship Lawyers?
You can easily find guardianship lawyers through the use of the internet. Almost every attorney who practices in estate planning, wills or juvenile law should be able to handle situations involving guardianship. When seeking a guardianship lawyer you will often only need to meet for an initial meeting to help streamline the process of retaining guardianship over an individual.
If the guardianship is contested then you will need a more experienced guardianship lawyer to help you with your case. In these situations you will want a guardianship lawyer who has extensive experience litigating in guardianship matters in that jurisdiction. You will also want to look for guardianship lawyers who are capable of creating powers of attorney.
Fees & Rates
The fees and Rates associated with guardianship lawyers are often minor. You will have to pay a fee for an initial consultation fee but other than that the use of a guardianship lawyer will often be unnecessary. When the situation escalates into litigation a guardianship lawyer can become expensive. Cost incurred through the use of a guardianship lawyer will involve the time spent by the guardianship lawyer in drafting the filings; the cost of finding and notifying interested parties about the guardianship proceeding; and preparing documents for the appointment of guardianship by the court.