Legal Support For Becoming A Legal Guardian
Guardianship is sometimes necessary to protect an at-risk child or a vulnerable adult. It is a formal legal process and carries many responsibilities, which is why you may want legal advice and representation.
The Law Office of Curtis M. Garner & Associates, LLC, handles guardianship proceedings in the courts of Greene County and surrounding areas of Missouri. We typically represent the party asking to be appointed guardian, although we would also represent an individual or a concerned family member who strongly opposes a guardianship petition.
A guardian is appointed by the court to oversee the personal care and well-being of another person. There are typically two circumstances:
- Grandparents, adult siblings or other relatives asserting legal guardianship of a child whose parents are absent or unfit due to incarceration, addiction, abuse or mental illness.
- An adult child or another relative asserting guardianship of an elderly or developmentally disabled adult who is incapable of self-care due to dementia, infirmities or mental health.
The court can also grant conservatorship over an adult’s financial affairs if they have significant assets to protect.
The legal guardian of a child is granted most rights and privileges of a parent including decision-making about the child’s health care, education and religious upbringing. The usual reason for guardianship is to keep the child in the extended family and out of the foster care system. It can later lead to formal adoption, or guardianship can be relinquished if the parents are later deemed fit to resume care.
The Role Of An Attorney
You have to demonstrate to the court that you are fit, willing and able for the duties of guardianship, and that you are not the guardian of anyone else or otherwise ineligible. Once you petition to become a guardian, the court will order a background check and notify immediate family members to give them a chance to affirm or protest the appointment. Once appointed, you will have to file updates with the court until age 18 (or indefinitely for an adult guardianship).
We help you understand your rights and obligations, and we can intervene if the appointment is contested or if the court identifies some problem in your background check. We also handle proceedings to remove a guardian because of allegations of neglect or breach of fiduciary duty.