As a grandparent, you would do nearly anything for your grandchild. Making sure your grandchild has access to appropriate care and a place to live is the bare minimum. However, life sometimes intervenes and prevents your own children from caring for their minor child. It could be due to health issues, mental illness or other circumstances. In those cases, you may feel it is time to step in and request guardianship of your grandchild.
Guardianship allows you to decide where the minor child lives, goes to school and what kind of healthcare he or she receives. To become a guardian, you must be a resident of that state, mentally competent and never been convicted of a felony.
However, the petition process can be complex. Before you start, you may want to talk to an experienced local attorney, who can assist you in navigating the process in Fayetteville.
1. File a petition
You must obtain a petition form from the clerk of court in the county your grandchild lives in. The form requires information about you, the child and the child's parents. After you fill it out, you file your petition for guardianship with the county clerk and pay a filing fee.
2. Undergo an investigation
According to the American Bar Association, the court may request you submit verification items like fingerprints, so it can conduct a criminal history check. This helps establish your lack of felony convictions.
3. Attend a hearing
The court notifies the child and other parties, like the parents, that you want to become the child's legal guardian. At the hearing, you will argue your case for becoming the child's legal guardian. If the minor child or parents object to your request, this may make your case less convincing. It will be up to the judge to decide the case for guardianship.
4. File another document
If granted guardianship, you have to sign a form that states you formally accept guardianship. File this form with the clerk of court.
Accepting guardianship of your minor grandchild may help you and your family deal with a tough situation. The needs of the child should always come first, and he or she is lucky to have you.