How to Change the Guardianship of a Child

By Anna Green
the Guardianship, a Child
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To change the guardianship of a child, you will need to file a petition with the court in the city or county where the child resides currently. Along with the petition, you should file evidence to back up your reasons for changing guardianship and provide written consents from the child’s current guardians. Once you have provided the court with these documents, a judge will review the case and make a determination on what guardianship arrangement will be in the best interest of the child.

Prepare a petition for guardianship. To have the court consider transferring legal guardianship, you will need to draft a petition pursuant to your state’s child custody laws. The petition should list the child’s full name, date of birth and place of residence, along with demographic information on the child’s parents, current guardian and proposed legal guardian.

List the reasons for changing guardianship. Because a change in guardians and living arrangements can be difficult on a child psychologically, the court may not approve the petition unless you provide compelling reasons why the new custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

Obtain signed consents from the child’s current legal guardians. If the child’s parents and current guardian agree to the change in guardianship, they will need to execute a document that states that they are in agreement with the proposed arrangement. If they wish for a temporary change in guardianship only, they should state the date they wish for the guardianship arrangement to remain in place. The parents and guardians should sign and date the documents in front of a notary public.

Submit the petition and supporting consents to the Clerk of the Court. After the court has reviewed the documents, you will be assigned a hearing date. All pertinent parties, including the child, will need to attend the hearing.

Show that the new guardian is capable of caring for the child. The court may ask the proposed guardian to show evidence establishing that she is fit to care for the child. She may be asked to complete a background check, show proof of income and have a home study completed by a state social worker.

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About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.