Guardianship is a relationship that can arise when a court appoints a guardian to care for a child or an adult that is incapable of taking care of himself. The family court handles cases where guardianship has to be established for a minor while the Supreme Court must be involved in cases where a guardian has to be appointed for a person who is 18 years or older. Whenever it is found that a parent is either unable or unwilling to take care of a child, the family court can exercise its authority and appoint a guardian for the child.
If you have a family member who is either unwilling or unable to care for his or her children or you have an adult family member that is not able to take care of his or her affairs, speak with a NYC guardianship law lawyer, today. This professional will provide you with free initial legal advice and help you weigh your options under the law.
Guardianship for Adults
In New York, and in many other jurisdictions, there is a general assumption that persons who are 18 years or older can take care of themselves. However, when a case of an adult is brought to court seeking guardianship for an adult that is either disabled or incapacitated, the court will evaluate the case based on its own merits. If need be, a medical doctor might be called upon to give expert witness as to whether the adult person qualifies to be considered incapacitated or disabled.
Guardianship for children
A child who has not reached a majority age (18 years) may end up with a court-appointed guardian if its parents are either unable or unwilling to take care of it. The child may be put under the care of a relative, e.g. grandparent for a specified duration of time. The court-appointed guardian will have the same legal authority that parents have.
Application for guardianship
There are other special cases where an individual might decide to rescue a child by applying to become its legal guardian. To become a legal guardian for a minor, you must formally apply and follow the following steps:
i. Obtain the required forms from the family court and fill them out.
You will be required to obtain the basic forms from the probate court and fill them as per the instructions. Two main forms that you must fill include petitions for appointment of the guardian for the minor and child custody affidavit. When filling the first form, you can either propose yourself as the guardian or propose another person whom you feel is sufficiently qualified. The second form will contain details of where the child has been living and whether there are other parties that might be interested in the case.
ii. File the forms
You can file the duly filled forms with the probate court by either hand delivering them to the court or sending them via mail. Make sure that you retain a copy.
iii. Notify the other parties
You are duty-bound to notify all the other parties involved in the petition. The parties may include:
• The child if he or she is 14 years or older and has not consented to the guardianship.
• The persons who were taking care of the child 60 days before the case was filed
• The parents of the minor
iv. Probate court hearing
The court will then hear the case and determine it based on its merits.
v. The court approves or denies guardianship
Based on its findings, the court will either approve the application for guardianship or not.
How an attorney can help
Whether you are applying for guardianship or would like to prevent another from becoming a guardian, you need to speak to our skilled and experienced NYC Guardianship Law Lawyer who will help advise you on what you need to do to improve the chances of winning your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.