Guardianship of a child must be established if he or she is left without a biological parent. It can occur unexpectedly, or it can be pre-arranged by parents writing a will. In this two-part series, we are looking at the steps involved in establishing guardianship.
In the first post our attorney in Cary NC explained several types of guardianships and when they are used in certain situations. Now let’s take a look at a few things to consider before filing for guardianship, and then we will explain the process once you have decided you want to pursue it.
Questions to Ask Yourself | Attorney in Cary NC
Becoming guardian of a child is a large responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Before you decide to file for guardianship of a child, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want to be responsible for this child until he or she is 18 years old?
- Can I provide for this child emotionally and financially?
- Am I willing to deal with other family members and possibly the child’s parents that may disagree with my decision?
- Will my spouse and other children be okay with bringing this child into our lives and home?
- How will it affect their lives? Will it have a positive or negative impact?
- Am I willing to go through the court proceedings and the pay the fees in order to establish guardianship?
- How do I file for guardianship?
Once you have decided that filing for guardianship is the right decision for you, your family and the child, you can begin the process. First, you must file your petition with the court. If the parents are alive and willing to give up custody of the child, you can file a letter of consent from them along with your request for guardianship. There is a filing fee you should pay.
Once you have filed the paperwork, the court will interview you, the child and the child’s parents if they are available. The court may require a home inspection. They may also run a background check on you and other adults, such as your spouse, that will be in the home with the child. If the courts find you a suitable guardian, they will grant you legal guardianship. You must sign an oath saying that you accept the responsibilities.
How do I appoint a guardian for my child?
If you are creating a will, you should name a guardian for your children to ensure that they are placed with someone of your choosing. If you do not have a will, or do not name someone, it will be up to the court system to decide where they should go. When naming a guardian, it is also a good idea to leave a letter of explanation for your choice. This can show that he or she will be the best provider for your child.
Making the choice to take in a child is a huge responsibility that should be researched and considered carefully to ensure that the child’s best interest is at heart and that the person seeking guardianship is able to take on the challenge long-term.
Eldreth and Eldreth | Attorney in Cary NC
To learn more, visit back with our previous blog post. Also contact our attorney in Cary NC with any questions you might have or to inquire about our services.