Navigating family dynamics can be a complex task, particularly when an individual is grappling with personal challenges such as substance abuse, mental health issues, or other problems. Relationships can become strained, and legal intervention may be required to ensure the welfare of a child. In such situations, one may contemplate the possibility of minor guardianship, previously referred to as third-party or nonparental child custody in Washington. If you are concerned about a child, Read more about what you can do.
Kinds of Guardianship:
Having a guardian appointed to care for a kid or minor when their parents or other legal guardians are not around is known as guardianship. The choice to apply for guardianship can be influenced by a number of factors, including the parent’s infirmity, neglect, abuse, or demise.
Any party with a vested interest in the welfare of a child, including relatives, friends, caregivers, social workers, or concerned citizens, may file a petition for minor guardianship. In addition, minors who are 14 years or older may file a petition for guardianship themselves. The petitioner may also seek guardianship for themselves or propose someone else to be appointed as a guardian.
It is essential to understand that there are two types of minor guardianship: long-term guardianship and emergency guardianship. Long-term guardianship is a more permanent solution that takes around 60 days to finalize. On the other hand, emergency guardianship is a temporary measure granted more quickly but only for a duration of 60 days.
Important Legal Considerations in Minor Guardianship Cases
Below are some important legal details to keep in mind:
Parents’ Right to an Attorney:
It is essential to note that parents now have the right to have an attorney throughout the guardianship proceedings, even if the courts need to appoint one. This is a significant change from previous laws that did not guarantee parents legal representation.
Parents’ Right to Review Guardianships:
Another significant change from previous laws is that parents can now more easily get a review of guardianships. This can shorten the time that a parent may not have custody, making it easier for them to regain custody of their child.
Older Children’s Rights:
Older children now have the right to be informed about the guardianship proceedings and to make their proposals about who they want or do not want as their guardians. This means that their wishes and opinions are taken into account during the guardianship process.
Reaching out to a lawyer for guardianship can help ensure that all legal requirements are met during the process. They can also provide guidance and support to help you navigate complex family dynamics and ensure the welfare of the child.