A guardianship form is a set of court forms often used in the case of a medical illness, accident, or death. The form is used to determine who will care for a minor child or mentally incompetent adult. However, that's not its only use. They’re also used if a parent can no longer care for their child for some reason. For example, if an active duty member of the military was sent overseas, they may use a temporary guardianship agreement to temporarily grant authority to another person to take care of their child during their absence.
These forms may vary from state to state. However, they will all require some basic information. The names of the current parents or guardians must be included, as well as the name of the child or ward. The names of the supplemental, temporary, or other potential guardians must also be included. You should speak to the person you are listing on the form to ensure they are comfortable accepting guardianship of the children. These forms are considered to be part of family law although in many areas, it is the probate court that oversees these matters. The names of the forms are usually:
A guardianship and conservatorship forms are important legal documents. Think about it: what if something happens to you? What if you get sick and are unable to care for your dependents or manage your assets? It's a nasty subject, we know, but it can happen. If it does, you must be sure your loved ones are left in the best possible hands. This is why it's important you have the proper document template before it may be needed. It will save you and your loved ones time and stress in the case of an emergency. Without one, family court or probate court would get involved and name a guardian that you may not want.
Of course, you can go to a lawyer who works with guardianship cases and pay to have the forms drafted or get legal advice to guide you through the process. A free guardianship template is a low-cost solution for temporary or permanent guardianship. It's a fairly simple document, although it’s important for you to make sure that it complies with state law and any rules of your state court. The major components of these forms are:
This includes the dependents, yourself (or whomever is creating this agreement - we're assuming it's you), and the guardian(s) you’re appointing. This section should include the full legal names, as well as information about the assets and/or the dependents' date(s) of birth and gender(s). It should also include the guardian's address, contact information, and relationship to the dependent(s).
This is a detail that can only be provided when the time comes. It’s not always certain when a form like this will be needed. Your documents should specify the time period during which your appointed guardian has guardianship duties. This is particularly important if the situation is temporary. Be sure to check your state laws, too. Maximum guardianship times vary from state to state. This date will be listed in the order appointing temporary guardian or permanent guardian.
What CAN'T the Guardian Do?
The need for witnesses, signatures, and notarization may vary from state to state. However, almost every state requires at least one witness who is not a party to the matter as well as for the document to be notarized. The form must also be signed and dated by the appointed guardian.
Forms for adults are a bit different than those used for minor guardianship. The reason for this is because adults must be proven incompetent and unable to make their own decisions. This is always done in front of a judge. Adult guardianship documents must explain to the judge why the person needs a guardian (for example, serious developmental disability), why you should be named a guardian, and who may need to know that you’re being appointed as a guardian.
Every state has their own laws that determine the name of the documents to file with the court. There’s also a fee that must be paid. One of the best things you can do to make sure that you get the right forms for adult guardianship is to visit the website for your state’s legal aid office or the self-help section of your county court's website. Most of them provide free adult guardianship documents you can use. Then, you would complete the forms, make copies, and file them with the court. Remember that you’ll need to pay your filing fee.
Child guardianship documents can be completed with or without parent consent. Common times the parent would consent may include, but aren’t limited to, the parent is going overseas for military service, the child is a citizen and their parent is undocumented and being deported, when the parent has a serious illness and cannot care for the child, or if the parent is facing jail time. Guardianship must still be approved by the court in many cases. It can be considered short-term (for a period that is six months or less) or long-term (longer than six months).
For short-term guardianships, you can generally draft temporary guardianship documents and have them notarized. Court isn’t necessarily required. Make sure that the parent and the guardian has at least two copies of the signed forms. If the child is older than 14 years, they may be required to sign the agreement as well.
For guardianship that is long-term or without the consent of the parents, court is almost always a necessity. The guardianship papers must be filed with the court and a hearing date will be set. The relatives of the child (usually the parents) must be served with a notice of hearing. The child and the nominated guardians must appear for the hearing. If guardianship is granted, there are other forms that must be completed.
Check your state’s legal aid website to get more information and documents for child guardianship. This is the best way you can get low cost help with the process. If you’re required to go to court, you will still need to pay a filing fee.
guardianship. Which forms you need will also depend on if you’re being appointed as a guardian over a person, over an estate, or over both a person and an estate. For example, in Nevada, all guardians must complete a Guardian’s Acknowledgement of Duties regardless of whether they’re named as a guardian over a person or an estate. Every year, a guardian over a person must submit an Annual Report of the Guardian and a Confidential Medical / Educational Information Sheet.
Guardians of an estate must provide a Proof of Blocked Account immediately. Within 60 days of being appointed, the guardian of the estate must submit an inventory, appraisal, and record of value for the assets. They may also need to submit a monthly budget. Yearly, they must submit an Annual Accounting Packet.
Termination of Guardianship
Regardless of whether the guardianship is for an adult, child, or estate, a time will come when the guardianship needs to be terminated. Common reasons to terminate a guardianship include death, a child reaching the age of majority, a parent returning to care for their child, the guardian is moving out of the state, or the protected person becomes competent enough to take care of their own affairs.
There are a few ways in which the guardianship of a child may be terminated. If the child becomes an adult, the guardianship is terminated. If the guardians and the parents agree to end the guardianship, it can be terminated.
If a guardian refuses to agree to terminate the guardianship, you will be required to go to court to ask the judge to terminate it. The person seeking to end the guardianship will have to complete termination documents. The court will set a hearing and serve the guardian and others who may have an interest in the hearing. The form is generally referred to as a Petition to Terminate Child Guardianship, but the name can vary depending on the state.
For an estate, the form is usually referred to as a Request to Close Guardianship and Release Assets. Again, though, the name of the form may vary in your state. You can check the website of your local legal aid office because they usually have very helpful forms and information that can help.
To terminate guardianship of an adult, a hearing is required. The judge will decide if the guardianship is still needed. If it is, the judge may decline to terminate it. The judge may also terminate the current guardianship and give guardianship power to another person. The name of the form is usually Petition to Terminate Guardianship Over an Adult. The name may be different in your state.
Co-parenting can be challenging, but it's often what's best for the children. Some of the benefits that children see from co-parenting include feelings of security and stability, as well as a good understanding of cooperation and problem solving because they see their parents work together. If you're ready to reap these benefits for your children, consider these tips on effective co-parenting.
Co-parenting works better for some parents than others. For example, it works best when the parents live near each other and can cooperate enough to avoid fighting in front of the children. Co-parenting doesn't work as well when the parents live far apart or put the children in the middle of their arguments. Parents who are willing to work on these issues together may have a chance of co-parenting successfully.
If you're having trouble co-parenting, learn to separate your feelings from your actions. Even if you're angry, avoid showing that through your words or body language. Never use your child as a messenger between you and your ex. If you can't communicate without getting upset, use email or text messages to talk to the other parent. Using Google Calendar and giving your children a notebook with any important information to share with your ex can also help keep you on the same page.
Some of the most important "do's" include trusting your ex as a parent and being civil and reasonable. Scheduling appointments to talk about any problems and making clear rules and schedules can help with this. Don't overreact or use abrasive words. Don't assume that your ex will be okay with any plans you make without first talking about it.
For co-parenting success, start with being consistent with the rules between both households. Be sure you're on the same page for discipline, too. The schedule at both houses should be similar as well.
It's equally important to have a system for dealing with the medical needs of the child. If you're both entitled to receive information about the children's health, you should communicate before making medical decisions. Use the same system for educational needs. Talk to your ex before making decisions regarding clubs, sports, or school events.
Financial decision making should also go smoothly. Set a reasonable budget for the children and keep records of shared and reimbursable expenses.
Finally, consider setting rules for you and your ex regarding introducing your new romantic partners, making travel plans, and consuming alcohol with the children in your care.
Even when both parents make an effort to co-parent, issues might come up that you must solve together. For example, some children decide they don't want to visit with the non-custodial parent. This may be because they don't want to spend less time with their custodial parent, don't feel the non-custodial parent is involved enough, or they simply don't want to miss a social event by traveling to the other house. When this occurs, go with the flow, making sure to put the child's best interests above your own feelings. If you have a custody and visitation order in place, make sure that you follow it. If you feel it no longer reflects the wishes of your child or meets their needs, talk with your ex to discuss the possibility of modifying it.
If you want to talk to your children about the divorce, separation, or break-up, be honest and supportive. Make sure that they know they're not to blame and get counseling for them, if necessary. Don't bad mouth the other parent and do not discuss child support issues with them. You should also ensure the children know the visitation schedule and don't change it without consulting them and the other parent.
In addition, keep the children's ages in mind when considering their reactions to divorce. For example, babies need consistency, while toddlers need consistency and patience. Younger children might act out or be angry. Be consistent with them and support their interests. Older children might align more with one parent, but you should encourage them to love and respect both. Finally, teenagers prefer to spend time with friends over family, so keep their social interests in mind as they go from one house to the other.
Be the best parent you can be. You should also avoid assuming anything about your ex. Instead, get out any frustration you feel by exercising, socializing, or getting therapy. Do not use your children as a spy or as a messenger.
It is important as a co-parenting father to optimize the amount of time that you have with your children. For most fathers, 50% of custody is a good goal. However, various scenarios might make this percentage lower or higher. Fathers with shared custody are generally closer to their children. In addition, researcher Margaret Little says co-parenting fathers are "more likely than nonresidential fathers to share in decision making about their children and to be satisfied with the legal and physical custody arrangements."
Do not talk badly about their mother in front of them or to them. Do not use your children as a spy or as a messenger.
Now that you're working hard to co-parent, it's important to make sure your legal forms are always up to date and accurate. Single mothers and fathers should revisit the following forms post divorce:
As guardianship is a specific legal process controlled by the laws in each state, we’ve put together a list of links to state supported guardianship forms and related information below:
Alabama guardianship laws are located in Alabama Code, Chapter 2A.
You can learn more about guardianship by accessing the Alaska Court System’s self-help page related to guardianship and conservatorship. Alaska guardianship laws are located in Alaska Statutes, Title 13.
Arizona Court’s self-help section also contains a link to all of the various reports that must be prepared in conservatorships. Arizona guardianship statutes are located in Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 14.
Arkansas guardianship laws are located in Arkansas Code, Title 28.
California guardianship laws are located in California Code, Division 4, Part 2.
Connecticut guardianship laws are located in Connecticut General Statutes Title 45a, Chapter 802h.
District of Columbia
Florida guardianship laws are located in Florida Statutes Title XLIII, Chapter 744.
Georgia guardianship laws are located Georgia Code Title 29.
Hawaiian guardianship laws are located in Hawaii Revised Statutes Title 30.
Idaho guardianship laws are located in Idaho Statutes Title 15, Chapter 13.
Illinois guardian laws are located in Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 755.
Indiana guardianship laws are located in Indiana Code Title 29, Article 3.
Kansas guardianship laws are located in Kansas Statutes Chapter 59, Article 30.
Kentucky guardianship laws are located in Kentucky Revised Statutes Title XXXIII, Chapter 387.
All guardianship forms are available directly through the local parish court clerk or from an estates, probate, or family law attorney. These forms are not available online. You may access a list of local parish court clerks here. Louisiana laws related to how one may motion for guardianship of a child may be found in the Children’s Code, specifically CHC 720.
Maine guardianship laws are located in Maine Revised Statutes Title 18-C: Probate Code, Article 5: Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings.
Maryland guardianship laws are located in Maryland Code Family Law, Title 5 - Children, Subtitle 3 - Guardianship to and Adoption Through Local Department and Subtitle 3A - Private Agency Guardianship and Adoption.
Massachusetts guardianship laws are located in Massachusetts General Laws Part II Real and Personal Property and Domestic Relations, Title II Descent and Distribution, and Absentees, Guardianship, Conservatorship and Trusts.
Michigan guardianship laws are located in Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 722 - Children, Act 260 of 2008 Guardianship Assistance Act.
Guardianship of minors:
Minnesota guardianship laws are located in Minnesota statutes Chapters 245 - 267 - Public Welfare and Related Activities.
To learn more about guardianship in Mississippi, please visit this page sponsored by Mississippi Legal Aid as forms for guardianship are not available through the Mississippi Court website.
Mississippi guardianship laws are located in Mississippi Code Title 93 - Domestic Relations, Chapter 13, Guardians and Conservators.
Missouri guardianship laws are located in Missouri Revised Statutes Title XXXI - Trusts and Estates of Decedents and Persons Under Disability, Chapter 475 - Probate Code - Guardianship.
Montana guardianship laws are located in Montana Code Annotated Title 72 Estates, Trusts, and Fiduciary Relationships, Chapter 5 UPC - Persons Under Disability Guardianship and Conservatorship, Part 2 Guardians of Minors; Part 3 Guardians of Incapacitated Persons; Part 6 Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
Nebraska guardianship laws are located in Nebraska Revised Statutes Chapter 30:
Nevada guardianship laws are located in Nevada Revised Statutes Title 13 - Guardianships; Conservatorships; Trusts, Chapter 159.
New Hampshire guardianship laws are located in New Hampshire Revised Statutes Title XLIV - Guardians and Conservators.
New Jersey guardianship laws are located in New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 3 B - Administration of Estates - Decedents and Others - Chapter 12A - Findings, declarations relative to kinship legal guardianship.
New Mexico guardianship laws are located in New Mexico Statutes Chapter 40 - Domestic Affairs, Article 10B - Kinship Guardianship.
New York guardianship laws are located in New York Laws MHY - Mental Hygiene, Title E - General Provisions, Article 81- Proceedings for Appointment of a Guardian for Personal Needs or Property Management.
North Carolina guardianship laws are located in North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 33B - North Carolina Uniform Custodial Trust Act, Chapter 35A - Incompentency and Guardianship, and Chapter 35B - Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
Guardianship of minors in district court if their parent is deceased and has a will:
These forms may only be used if the parent of minor is deceased and there is no other living parent or the living parent’s rights were terminated by the court; or the deceased parent left a will that is in probate in North Dakota and the will named a guardian for the minor child.
North Dakota guardianship laws are located in North Dakota Century Code Title 30.1 Uniform Probate Code, Chapter 30.1-27 Guardians of Minors and Chapter 30.1-28 Guardians of Incapacitated Persons.
Ohio guardianship laws are located in Ohio Revised Code Title  XXI Courts - Probate - Juvenile Chapter 2111 - Guardians; Conservatorships and Title  XXI Courts - Probate - Juvenile Chapter 2112 - Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (OSCN) provides a guardianship handbook that may be used for the purposes of applying for and establishing guardianship.
Oklahoma guardianship laws are located in Oklahoma Statutes Title 30 Guardian and Ward.
Guardianship documents are available through each local circuit court. You must contact the circuit court that governs your location to retrieve the forms you need. You may access a list of the circuit courts by clicking here. Then, choose the drop down for your circuit court. Keep in mind that if you choose forms from the circuit court site that it will re-direct you to the main self-help forms directory. If you choose guardianship, it will tell you to contact the circuit court. Therefore, use the circuit court drop down to locate the proper court to retrieve their contact information. Then, contact the court for assistance with locating the forms you need.
Oregon guardianship laws are located in Oregon Revised Statutes Volume 10: Highways, Military, Juvenile Code, Human Services Chapter 419B - Juvenile Code: Dependency Sections 419B.365 through Section 419B.385; and Oregon Revised Statutes Volume 3: Landlord-Tenant, Domestic Relations, Probation Chapter 125 - Protective Proceedings Section 125.00 through Section 125.330.
Pennsylvania guardianship laws are located in Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 20 - Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Chapter 51 - Minors and Chapter 59 - Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction.
Rhode Island guardianship laws are located in Rhode Island General Laws Title 33 - Probate Practice and Procedure Chapter 33-15 Limited Guardianship and Guardianship of Adults, Chapter 33-15.1 Guardianship of Minors, Chapter 33-15.2 Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, and Chapter 33-16 Veterans’ Guardianships.
South Carolina guardianship laws are located in South Carolina Code of Laws Title 62 - South Carolina Probate Code, Article 5 - Protection Persons Under Disability and Their Property.
South Dakota guardianship laws may be found in the South Dakota Guardianship and Conservatorship Act.
Tennessee guardianship laws are located in Tennessee Code Title 34 - Guardianship.
Texas guardianship laws are located in Texas Statutes Probate Code Chapter XIII - Guardianship.
Utah guardianship laws are located in Utah Code Title 75 - Utah Uniform Probate Code Chapter 5 - Protection of Persons Under Disability and Their Property Part 2 - Guardians of Minors, Chapter 5 - Protection of Persons Under Disability and Their Property Part 3 - Guardians of Incapacitated Persons, Chapter 5 - Protection of Persons Under Disability and Their Property Part 4 - Protection of Property of Persons Under Disability and Minors, Chapter 5a - Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, and Chapter 5b - Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
Vermont guardianship laws are located in Vermont Statutes Title 14 - Decedents’ Estates and Fiduciary Relations Chapter 101 - Probate Bonds; Executors, Administrators, Trustees, Guardians; Chapter 103 - Mortgages and Leases By Executors, Administrators, Trustees, or Guardians; Chapter 111 - Guardianship; Chapter 113 - Uniform Veterans’ Guardianship Act; and Chapter 114 - Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
Virginia guardianship laws are located in the Code of Virginia Title 64.2 - Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries Subtitle IV. Fiduciaries and Guardians Part C. Guardianship of Minor and Part D. Guardianship of Incapacitated Persons.
Washington guardianship laws are located in Revised Code of Washington Title 11 - Probate and Trust Law 11.88 Guardianship - Appointment, qualification, removal of guardians; 11.90 Uniform adult guardianship and protective proceedings jurisdiction act; and 11.92 Guardianship - Powers and duties of guardian or limited guardian.
West Virginia guardianship laws are located in Chapter 44A West Virginia Guardianship and Conservatorship Act and Chapter 44C Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.
Wisconsin guardianship laws are located in Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations Chapter 54 Guardianships and conservatorships.
You may find additional miscellaneous documents related to guardianship, including motions and a Notice of Publication, by locating Packet 18 at the bottom of the Supreme Court of the State of Wyoming’s self-help family law forms page.
Wyoming guardianship laws are located in Wyoming Statutes Title 3 - Guardian and Ward.
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