In Missouri, guardians are individuals granted custody, legal rights and responsibility over a minor and his personal affairs. Minors are considered any individual under the age of 18. Eligibility for guardianship over a minor requires that minor to have no living biological parents; parents with no parental rights to the child; or parents deemed unfit or unwilling to raise the child. When guardianship over a minor is granted, that minor becomes a Ward of the guardian. The Probate Court determines whether or not an individual applying for guardianship of a minor is fit for the role.
Visit the Probate Division of the Circuit Court in the district where the minor lives to obtain the "Petition for Appointment of Guardian and Conservator" form. You may also download this form from the Circuit Court website where the proceeding is to take place.
Fill out the form as directed. Include the minor's name, age and home address. Submit the forms to the Clerk and set a date and time for the hearing.
Provide notice to all interested parties about the pending hearing. If the minor is over the age of 14, she must be personally notified by her court-appointed attorney. Parents or spouses of the minor may be notified via mail or newspaper publication. Do this by filling out the "Request to Clerk for Service of Notice by Publication or Mail" form and submitting it to the clerk. (See Resource 1)
Provide proof that the minor is in danger, incapable of taking care of herself, can't handle her finances or property, and is unable to live independently. The burden of proof is on the Petitioner during hearings for guardianship; petitioners may submit testimony from neighbors, doctors or teachers to prove their case. If the court agrees, guardianship will be awarded.