There are several reasons why you might want to establish guardianship of a relative like a niece or nephew. Perhaps the child’s parents are unfit to care for their child due to medical issues or incarceration. Whatever your reasons for seeking guardianship of a niece or nephew, you should know that the process can be arduous and complicated.
How to Establish Guardianship of Niece or Nephew
To establish guardianship of a child your first step is to file a petition with the courts along with a petition fee. You will also be required to file a letter of consent from the child’s parents. Once you have filed your petition, the long journey has just begun. The court is required to conduct interviews with you, the child and the child’s parents, if they are available to do so. Courts will often order a home-visit or inspection in addition to conducting a comprehensive background check of the would-be guardian.
It is important to remember that when kids are involved, the courts will always operate in a manner that is in “the best interest of the child”. So if, after reviewing the particulars of your case, the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child you will be granted legal guardianship of the child. Most states will require you to take an oath stating that your accept the responsibilities of guardianship. Once you have been granted the guardianship you must contact your local jurisdiction to complete all of the necessary documentation to make the transition official.
What to Consider When Establishing Guardianship
Establishing guardianship of a minor is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. If you are granted the guardianship then you will hold most of the responsibility both legally and socially that a child’s parents hold.
You should only be considering guardianship if the child is in a situation where they are facing adverse neglect or abuse. Some common scenarios in which a relative will obtain guardianship are if the child’s parents are struggling with substance abuse or are currently incarcerated. Being a guardian is a full-time job and should only be undertaken if you fully understand the ramification of the decision.
If you are considering transferring guardianship then give us a call today and we can help you through the process.