Obtaining Guardianship for a Minor Child.
Many times the lines are blurred between the rights of parents and the rights associated with a guardian. While a minor’s parents remain responsible for exercising their legal rights, there are time in which a court will allow for the appointment of a guardian of a minor to exercise these rights. There can be many reasons why the court may see fit to appoint a guardian including, but not limited to the following:
- A step parent is seeking guardianship over a step child who are primarily in their care;
- A single parent of the minor child has been incarcerated or institutionalized for treatment;
- Biological parents of the minor child are deceased and the child is now in the care of another family member;
- A single parent or both parents are in the military and have been deployed to active duty;
- The parents do not live in the United States but have sent the child to live with a friend or family member;
- The family has relocated but the parents desires for the child to remain in their current school for the remainder of that particular academic year;
- A parent has disappeared but there is no reason to believe the parent is dead.
Who can request guardianship?
In Michigan, the statute allows any “person interested in the welfare” of the minor to petition the Court for appointment a guardian of a minor. Typically the Court will order a court investigator (Guardian ad Litem), to review the file, contact the parties, and to conduct an investigation of the proposed guardianship. This is followed by the filing of a written report outlining their findings and providing a recommendation to the Court as to how to rule on the Petition.
Appearing before the Court on a Petition for Appointment of a Guardian of a Minor.
After the petition is filed, a hearing is usually held within a month. In most instances, if there are no objections to the petition, and the court finds that it is in the best interest of the minor, a guardian will be appointed at the hearing.
Typically, a court will appoint a guardian of a minor in three instances.
- If the minor’s biological parent who has custody dies, disappears or becomes incapacitated and the other parent does not have custody. The person requesting guardianship typically must be related to the minor.
- The parental rights of the parents have been terminated or suspended by court via an order.
- If the parent or parents consent to the child residing with another person and that minor is not currently residing with his or her parent or parents when the petition the guardianship request is made.
Powers as a Guardian.
Similar to an adult guardianship. The guardianship allows for decisions making as to medical and placement decisions on behalf of the minor. The Court requires the filing of an “annual report of guardian” which informs the Court of any placement changes and the overall condition of the minor.
Questions about the process?
If you are looking to file a Petition for Guardianship for a minor here in Michigan. Or if you simply have questions about the process, feel free to call Hewson & Van Hellemont, PLC., to discuss your options at 248-968-5200.