Sometimes, parents are unable or unwilling to care for their child. In those cases, a non-parent may step in and request to be appointed as the child’s guardian. If the guardian successfully shows that the parents are unfit, he or she may be granted some custodial and decision-making authority. The legal standard to obtain a guardianship is very high, and the procedure very specific. Even parents with substance or alcohol addiction are not automatically “unfit.” Being a weak, uninvolved, or flawed parent is not sufficient. The proposed guardian must demonstrate that the parent cannot safely care for the child.
If both parents agree, the guardianship can proceed very smoothly. If at least one parent disputes the guardianship, the court commissioner will hold an initial hearing to determine the issues. The commissioner will then appoint a lawyer to represent the child, and send the matter to the judge to schedule a hearing.
The stakes for the child’s safety and well-being are very high. Our experience in guardianship matters provides the best possible chance of success for you and the child.