Family Law

How To File For Guardianship In The US?

How To File For Guardianship In The US

Becoming a guardian for a minor or an incapacitated adult can be an important responsibility. Minors and incapacitated adults do not have the mental ability to make vital decisions that serve their best interests. But now you might wonder how to file for guardianship in the United States. Do not worry, in this article, we will discuss how to file for guardianship of a minor.   

What is Guardianship?

What is Guardianship

A guardian is an individual appointed by the court to make legal, financial, and personal decisions on behalf of a person who’s not able to make such choices independently. This legal arrangement normally arises in times concerning minors and aged individuals. Moreover, with cognitive impairments, individuals with disabilities, or the ones concerned in their family disputes in which the interests of a susceptible third party require protection.     

The function of a court-appointed guardian is multifaceted and includes great responsibilities. Firstly, guardians feature as legal representatives for the individuals under their care. Moreover, they advocate for them in lawsuits and negotiate legal matters.  

Guardians additionally play an essential responsibility in decision-making concerning personal welfare, healthcare, and schooling for the individual under guardianship. Moreover, they need to act according to the man or woman’s best interests and options if stated. This includes making decisions on medical treatments, living arrangements, academic opportunities, and financial investments. Moreover, it is in the best interests of the individual under their guardianship.     

Financial management is a few different essential aspects of a guardian’s individualism. In instances wherein the ward underneath guardianship is not able to decide their financial abilities, the guardian can be responsible for coping with their belongings, paying bills, and making economic investments on their behalf.    

Filing for Guardianship of a Minor

Filing for Guardianship of a Minor

If you are willing to become a guardian of a minor, it is crucial that you have the eligibility to become one. Moreover, let us first explore whether you have the eligibility to become a guardian for a minor.   

Guardian of a Minor

A guardian is someone selected to make all vital decisions for a minor. Similarly, like a parent would do for their child. You have the eligibility to become a guardian for a minor by the following:  

  • You are caring for a child and require making more than just educational and medical decisions for them.   
  • The child’s parents are unable or unavailable to care for the child.   

Guardian vs Caregiver: The Differences

A guardian is different from a caregiver. Moreover, when a child has a caregiver, either the caregiver or the parent has the right to make decisions for the child.   

However, when a child has been appointed to a guardian, only the guardian and not the parents have the right to make decisions on the child’s behalf. Moreover, if the child’s parents don’t agree with the guardianship. You’ll only become a guardian when the court decides that the parents are unfit to care for their child.   

What Are the Forms & Documents Required to File for Guardianship of a Minor?

What Are the Forms & Documents Required to File for Guardianship of a Minor

To become a guardian for a minor you’ll need to file some forms and petitions that will make your request to become a guardian successful. Some of them are mentioned below:  

  • Petition for Appointment of Guardian of a Minor (MPC 140)  
  • Affidavit Disclosing Care and Custody (OCAJ-1)  
  • Bond (MPC 801)  

Either a petition or affidavit:  

  • If the parent(s) agreed with the appointment of the guardian – Notarized Waiver and Consent to Petition (MPC 440)  
  • If the parents and interested parties are not agreeing with the appointment of a guardian – Notice of Appearance (and Objection) (MPC 505a)  

Moreover, depending on the situation, you might also need to file the following:   

  • You will have to file for Application for Appointment of Counsel for Parent of Minor Child Guardianship of Minor (MPC 263) acquiring the right to counsel. If you are a parent of the child being subjected to this proceeding. Then you have the right to be represented by a family law attorney. Moreover, if you want legal representation but can’t afford it. You’ll have to provide evidence of your indigency. In such a case, you will be appointed an attorney. Similarly, your request for a lawyer should be immediately through filing the Appointment of Counsel form. Moreover, submitting the application form in person or by mail at the court’s location, where the case will be held.   
  • You must file a Notarized and Verified Consent to Nomination by Minor (MPC 441) if the minor is aged 14 years or older.   
  • If you want the court to authorize your guardianship quickly, you’ll need to file a Verified Motion for Appointment of Temporary Guardian (MPC 340).   
  • Lastly, if can’t afford to pay for the services or other costs related to the guardianship process. You must file for Affidavit of indigency.   

How To File for Guardianship for a Minor?

How To File for Guardianship for a Minor

Now we come to the matter regarding how to file for guardianship of a minor. There are three ways you can file for guardianship of a minor. Below are the three ways you can file for guardianship:  

In Person   

To file for guardianship of a minor in person, you’ll have to bring the above forms filled in and completed to the Probate and Family Court. Moreover, this must be in the county where the child resides in. However, there’s an exception if there is an ongoing case involving the child in a Juvenile Court or District Court.   

By Mail   

You can mail the above-mentioned form filled in and completed to the correct Probate & Family Court along with the fees required for filing for guardian.   


You can also eFile your forms online at eFileMA. Moreover, for more information on how to file eFile, you can visit eFiling in the Probate and Family Court.  

The other steps that will allow to file for guardianship of a minor are mentioned below:  

Step 1: Provide Notice   

Once you have filled in the forms, the court will send or give you a Notice and Order. Moreover, this is a paper that will tell you when your court hearing will be and the people who need to be sent notice. Similarly, you’ll need to give notice by providing copies of the Petition and the Order and Notice to the interested parties. These are as follows:  

  • The child’s parents: If the parents have passed away, the child’s nearest relatives are over the age of 18. However, you do not have to send notice to parents whose rights have not been terminated.   
  • The child, if they are aged 14 or older.   
  • Any current guardian or conservator for the child.   
  • Anyone—aside from foster parents—with whom the child has resided within the previous sixty days. Notification must also be sent to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) if they are the child’s guardian.   
  • If the child qualifies for any benefits, the US Veterans Administration.   

The petition for temporary or permanent guardianship may be objected to by any interested party specified in the petition by filing a Notice of Appearance (and Objection) (MPC 505a).  

Step 2: Attend the Hearing 

 To file for guardianship of a minor, legal representation shall be needed. The juvenile may request that the court assign them a lawyer, or another adult may act on their behalf. The court must assign counsel if the juvenile or someone acting on their behalf requests one. Moreover, the court might mandate that the state pays the minor’s attorney if the minor is unable to pay one.  

You have the right to legal representation if you are the parent of the minor child whose guardianship is at issue in a minor lawsuit. If you desire legal representation but are unable to pay for one and can provide evidence of your economic backwardness, you will be allocated an attorney by the court. Moreover, if you would like legal representation, you should contact the court where your case will be held either in person or by letter as soon as possible.  

The court will decide at this hearing whether:   

  • The applicant for the position is eligible   
  • The proper court is hearing the matter.   
  • All necessary notifications have been sent.   
  • The prerequisites for the appointment have been satisfied.   
  • The child’s welfare and best interests are taken care of by the desired appointment.   

The court provides a letter of appointment together with the appointment on a document known as the Decree and Order of Appointment of Guardian of a Minor. It will grant an order of temporary guardianship.  Moreover, a new court date will be set if the court is unable to reach a final decision at this hearing.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How to file for guardianship for a child?

In maximum states throughout America, interested parties can establish guardianship over a child via submitting a petition for the equal. A member of the family, a social worker, a central authority organization, or a person from the kid’s network may be called an involved party.    
Moreover, to file for guardianship over a toddler you’ll have to pay a positive submitting fee in conjunction with the petition documents. Further, you’ll have to prove show why guardianship over the kid is important.  

How to record for guardianship over a parent?

To follow for guardianship over a figure you should offer a file of the scientific examination of the elderly parent you’re seeking guardianship for. However, if the elderly person refuses to go for a medical exam, you could without difficulty ask for an order from the court later.    
Similarly, recognize that you can’t turn out to be a mother or father of a figure till the courtroom has decreed you to become one. 

How to file for legal guardianship?

If you discover a will that states a felony mother or father, then the probate court docket shall hire the guardian who will be pursuing the desire. Moreover, if a toddler calls for a legal dad or mum at the same time as his/her dad and mom are alive the process shall change slightly.    

How much does it cost to file for guardianship?

How much does it cost to file for guardianship

You might be surprised how much it costs to file for guardianship. Generally, the expenses of a lawyer will vary between $1,500 to $3,500 on average. However, all of the costs that are included to file a guardianship consist of filing expenses, provider fees, and expenses to acquire the letter of guardianship.   

So, do not be amazed if you see that your overall cost has risen to $1,000. Moreover, submitting for guardianship calls for an appointment of a lawyer ad litem for protecting the pursuits of the kid.    

 Due to this, the charge would possibly range from $350 to hundred thousand dollars depending on the quantity of technique that ad litem attorney will ought to do 

Final Words

Now you have a better understanding of the way you can file for guardianship for a child. You must make sure that you hire a good family lawyer to have a better understanding of the ways you can correctly file for guardianship. Similarly, also ensure that you are filling in the forms and other paperwork correctly to avoid dismissal of the petition.  

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Nilanjana Basu
Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.

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