Michigan law provides for the establishment of temporary or permanent guardians for minor children. A guardian has the legal authority to govern decisions that affect a child's medical care, living arrangements, schooling and routine activities. Limited and full guardianships require the approval and supervision of the Michigan probate courts. Probate judges ensure a child's best interests are served by the actions of his guardian. Guardians must regularly report to the court to show optimal care and maintenance are being rendered for the child.
Request an informational guardianship packet from the probate court in the child's county of residence. Complete the Petition for Appointment of Guardian for a Minor to establish full guardianship. To establish a limited guardianship, complete a Petition for Appointment of Limited Guardian of a Minor and a Limited Guardianship Placement Plan. In a limited guardianship, the child's custodial parents must agree to the appointment of a guardian, as well as agree to give up their parental rights for a specific period of time.
Read More: How to Obtain Legal Guardianship of a Child
Obtain letters of recommendations from reputable individuals who support your establishment of the guardianship. Have the recommending parties state concrete reasons why you could adequately care for the minor child involved.
Prepare a Minor's Social History Report. Hand-carry it to the clerk's office of the probate court with the petition, letters of recommendation and any required placement plan. Pay the $150 fee required to establish guardianship with the court clerk. Be aware that some courts charge an additional $50 as an investigation fee. Request a waiver of fees if you cannot afford to pay them.
Have a court officer serve copies of the filed documents on all parties necessary as directed by the court. Obtain and retain time-stamped copies of court-filed papers. Direct the court office to file a Proof of Service with the court once the documents are served on all interested parties, such as parents or current care takers.
Consult an attorney and rely on his advice if self-representation proves unmanageable or confusing. Seeking legal advice is always wise and recommended.
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.