This is the next post in my series on gaining guardianship over a child in Melbourne, Florida. My last article discussed when Florida courts may grant guardianship of a child. A judge may grant a guardianship if a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected. In the context of a guardianship case, these terms will be used to define extreme conduct. Whether the situation meets these criteria, however, will depend on several facts. An attorney can assist you in understanding whether you have a case for moving forward. In this article we will discuss the process for obtaining guardianship of a child. The process is initiated by filing a petition with the court. However, it is crucial to remember that these situations should not be handled without counsel. If you are in need of assistance, then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
Melbourne parties must file a petition with the court and notify the child’s parents or caretaker to begin the guardianship process
An individual interested in obtaining guardianship must kickstart the process by filing a Petition for the Appointment of a Guardian with the court. A parent who is not included in the petition or has not consented to the appointment must be provided notice of the petition. If the child resides with an individual that is not their parent, then this person must be given notice as well. The parent or current caretaker will be given an opportunity to respond. If the notified parties give consent to the appointment, then a hearing will not be required and the interested party will be named the legal guardian of the child. However, if consent is not provided, then the interested parties will attend the court proceedings.
While awaiting a final ruling, the interested party can file a Petition for Temporary Guardianship. The court will hold an immediate hearing to decide whether the child can be placed with the interested party until a final guardianship ruling is made. Since court proceedings can often take a long time to conclude, a temporary custody order will ensure the immediate safety of the child. This is especially important in cases where the child may be in danger. Courts are likely to grant these orders as long as it is in the best interests of the child.
During the proceedings for determining guardianship, the court will hear testimony from all parties, including the potential guardian and the child’s parents. The court will then determine whether it would be in the child’s best interests to grant responsibility for the child’s care to a non-parent. The court will grant the petition only upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s parents are unfit to provide for the care and control of the child. If the court finds that it would be in the child’s best interests to grant the petition, the court will appoint the interested relative, stepparent, or “fictive kin” as the child’s guardian. The court’s key focus is selecting a reliable, trustworthy guardian that is capable of carrying out all of the responsibilities a guardianship entails.
It is crucial to retain an experienced Florida attorney when petitioning to obtain guardianship of a child
Situations that lead to a petition for guardianship of a child are often extremely complicated. Just because you think a guardianship is necessary, it does not always mean it is the best for the child. I cannot stress enough how important it is to retain an experienced lawyer to assist you. I am a Melbourne family law attorney with extensive experience in guardianship cases. I understand the serious nature of such situations and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone today for assistance. We also serve the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.