If you need to take over the legal care of a minor, you must obtain guardianship through the court system. For those who have not had to deal with this process before, the exact requirements and specifications of the law can be confusing. Below, The Law Office of J. Baron Groshon in Charlotte, North Carolina, provides a brief overview of how to obtain guardianship of a child.
File a Petition
The first step to guardianship is to file a petition with the local court in the county where the minor resides. This involves filling out the initial petition and paying filing fees and applicable court costs. Under North Carolina law, you will have three options for guardianship:
- Guardian of the Person: This guardian makes practical, legal, and medical decisions on behalf of the child. However, a guardian of the person does not have the power to oversee the child's financial affairs.
- Guardian of the Estate: This guardian handles all financial aspects of the child's life. Still, they do not have the authority to make other types of decisions for the minor, like where they live or what medical care they receive.
- General Guardian: This guardian is a combination of the above types, and they have the responsibilities afforded to both guardians of the person and estate.
Attend a Hearing
Next, the court clerk will schedule a hearing to determine guardianship. You must attend this hearing and answer all the questions presented by the courts. Others involved in the child's life and care may also attend the hearing.
Receive a Judgement
Finally, the courts will decide who becomes the legal guardian of the minor. Bear in mind, you may have to work with other parties—such as the child's birth parents—to fully comply with all aspects of the judge's ruling. The exact details will vary depending on the nature of your case. Once the court's decision has been made, you are legally responsible for the child in your care.
If you are pursuing guardianship, have the support of a trusted lawyer on your side. The Law Office of J. Baron Groshon represents clients throughout Cabarrus and Rowan County in a variety of legal issues. Give them a call at (704) 342-2876 or visit the firm's website to arrange a free consultation.