Unlike adoption, which severs the legal ties between children and their biological parents, a guardianship arrangement coexists with the child-parent relationship. In fact, under certain circumstances, the individual applying for guardianship is the child’s parent. For example, parents may need to establish guardianship over minor children before helping them manage an inheritance. Regardless of your situation, it is natural to feel nervous about going to court when attempting to establish such an arrangement. But if you know what to expect during the hearing, you can ease a considerable amount of stress going into it.
What to Expect From a Guardianship Hearing
Preparing for the Proceeding
During a guardianship hearing, the judge will review all documents that the prospective guardian has filed to determine if the proposed arrangement will be in the child’s best interests. In the state of Montana, this might include a Petition for Guardianship of a Minor Child, Oath and Affirmation of Guardian, Consent(s) to Guardianship of a Minor Child, Nomination of Guardian by Minor Child Age 14 or Older, and Motion to Keep Certain Information Confidential. You will need to bring stamped copies of all applicable documents to the hearing, as well as the original Order for Guardianship and at least one additional copy of it.
Attending the Proceeding
Both you and the minor child will likely attend the hearing, during which the judge may ask the child some questions. If the child is over 14, the judge will appoint the individual named in the Nomination of Guardian, as long as it is in the ward’s best interests.
The judge will also question the individual seeking guardianship. Be prepared to explain why you think establishing a legal relationship at this point is in the child’s best interests. If you have already been acting as a caregiver, the judge will want to see proof of such, which might include documents, photographs, and witness testimony. A family law attorney can help you gather the evidence needed to secure a favorable outcome to the case.
If you want to establish a guardianship arrangement, turn to Scott Hamilton Attorney at Law in Kalispell, MT, for quality legal counsel during every stage of the proceedings. This compassionate family law attorney will be happy to answer all of your questions and represent you at the hearing. Visit the firm online to learn more about the kinds of cases their seasoned attorneys take on, or call (406) 257-3036 to schedule an initial consultation today.