There are situations in which a child's traditional caretaker--a parent, for example--is not available to meet all of that child's need. At other times, there is a practical reason why another individual steps in to assist in overseeing a child's finances independent of her parent. These rather rare although not unheard of situations require the establishment of a conservatorship or financial guardianship for a child. There are certain procedures established by the Uniform Probate Code and similar laws to follow to establish a financial guardianship or a conservatorship for a minor child.
Obtain from the clerk of court a standard form petition used to establish a financial guardianship or conservatorship.
Prepare the petition, completing all of the blank sections that require information.
Include in the petition the name of the child, the name or names of her legal caretakers (typically her parent or parents or another family member).
Explain in the petition the reason a financial guardianship or conservatorship is necessary.
Designate the name of the individual recommended to serve as the financial guardian or conservator for the minor child.
Sign the petition in front of a notary public. Petitions in probate court--where guardianships and conservatorship are established--need to be verified. Verification is signing a document under oath in front of a notary public.
File the petition with the clerk of the court.
Request that the clerk direct the sheriff to serve the petition, together with a summons, on any legally interested party. Legally interested parties include the parents or anyone else with legal custody of the child and the child herself. The summons is a form generated by the court that advises these interested parties what they need to do if they want to participate in the case.
Schedule a hearing date on your petition either with the clerk of the court or the administrative assistant of the judge assigned the case. Confirm that the clerk (or judge's administrative assistance) will notify the interested parties of the hearing or if that responsibility rests with you.
Attend the hearing and present evidence and witnesses to support the contention that the minor child needs a financial guardian or conservator to manage her financial affairs.
- Make certain you nominate or propose a financial guardian or conservator who is experienced in dealing with the financial affairs of others. You do not want the matter involving this particular child to be a training experience for someone without the necessary background to begin managing the child's financial affairs from day one.
- Consider retaining the services of an attorney to represent you in obtaining a financial guardianship or conservatorship for a minor child. You can access directories of attorneys in different practice areas from state and local bar associations. Contact information about these legal organizations is available through the American Bar Association.
- "Guardianship, Conservatorship and the Law;" Margaret C. Jasper; 2008
- Arizona Bar Association: Guide to Guardianships and Conservatorships
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services: Permanent Managing Conservatorship
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