What are the requirements to file for Guardianship of a minor child in Florida?

05/05/2009 - Guardianship - State: FL #16576

Full Question:

How do you get guardianship of a minor child in Florida when both parents are alive and want me to become guardian of a minor child? Will I have to hire a lawyer or can I file the papers myself and how do I get the forms?

Answer:

A guardianship is a legal relationship that can be created when a person is assigned by the court to take care of and make personal decisions for another (ward). Guardianship of a minor can be over the actual minor, the property of the minor, or both. Guardianships of minors are often established when neither parent is able to provide a safe, secure home for the child because of drug abuse, alcoholism, and other serious personal problems or when a minor child inherits property worth more than a certain amount of money.

To become a guardian of a minor, either the party intending to be the guardian or another family member, a close friend or a local official responsible for a minor's welfare must file a petition in the state court where the ward lives to appoint the guardian. The guardianship petition usually names the potential guardian and provides information about the parties' relationship (if any) and any pertinent information about the heirs or estate of the ward, as well as information about the minor's parents and whether and where they are living. Notice of the time and place of the guardianship hearing must be given to the potential ward and other interested parties. In appointing a guardian over a minor, the court will consider which individual's appointment will be in the best interest of the minor. Preferred guardians for a minor are parents and then other relatives. However, the primary consideration in selecting a guardian is the best interests of the minor. If the parents are still alive, before a nonparent is chosen as a guardian, the parents must be determined to be unable or unfit to look after the best interests of the minor. In some states, if the child is a certain age or older, the court must appoint the person nominated by the child unless the court finds the nomination contrary to the child’s best interest. The court may not appoint a person against whom the child has filed a written objection. If a guardianship is contested, the court may appoint a disinterested third party to investigate and make recommendations. Usually called a guardian ad litem, this person evaluates both the necessity for a guardianship, and the appropriateness of the proposed guardian. If the court finds sufficient evidence to order the guardianship after a hearing is held, it may issue subsequent orders, which govern the relationship and the guardian's actions.

The relationship between a guardian and a ward is fiduciary, which means that the guardian is obliged to act in the best interests of the ward. The court supervises the guardian to assure proper actions on behalf of the ward. Guardians may be required to make accountings of expenses to the court on a periodic basis. In some courts, a guardian may be reimbursed for attorney fees related to the guardianship.

In Florida, a guardian must be represented by an attorney who will serve as the “attorney of record,” and the court will likely also appoint an attorney to represent the person alleged to be incapacitated. For specific information and statutes regarding guardianships in Florida, please see:

http://www.flprobate.com/guardian_questions.htm

http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&U RL=Ch0744/titl0744.htm&StatuteYear=2007&Title=%2D%3E2007%2D%3EChapter%20 744



Please see the information at the following links:

http://definitions.uslegal.com/g/guardianship/
http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/estate-planning/guardianships-and-conservat orships/7236/
http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/family-laws/guardianship/7345/
http://secure.uslegalforms.com/cgi-bin/forms/query.pl?S-C-FL-B-guardians hip

Please see the forms at the following links:

05/05/2009 - Category: Guardianship - State: FL #16576

See more Questions in the Guardianship Category