How to File for Legal Guardianship in New Jersey

By Joseph Nicholson
Parents, legal guardianship, developmentally disabled children, who

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The legal guardianship process in New Jersey is most frequently used to give a parent or other family member the authority to act on behalf of someone with developmental disabilities who has reached the age of maturity. Legally, this person would be an adult and the parent would have no rights over them. It is possible, however, to file for legal guardianship in New Jersey and continue to provide for the interests of the individual.

Fill out a verified complaint. Form A of the Legal Guardianship kit (kit 10558) is the verified complaint that gives the court an overview of the situation. The complaint is a formal allegation that the individual in question is unable to govern himself and to manage his affairs.

See that a physician or psychologist examination is conducted. No more than 30 days prior to filing the verified complaint, a physician or psychologist must examine the individual and certify the allegation in the complaint. The professional who conducts the examination must complete Form B or C of kit 10558.

Obtain DDD certification. If the individual over whom you are seeking guardianship is receiving benefits from the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), you must contact the regional office and obtain an official form certifying them as a client. Contact your county Surrogate for information on how to contact your nearest DDD regional office.

Complete Forms D and E. Form D of kit 10558 is a request for a court hearing, and Form E is the actual judgment appointing guardianship. Complete these forms except for the lines to be filled in by the court, such as the date and time of the hearing. Review the instructions to kit 10558 for more details.

Make copies and file. Make at least three copies of all the forms described in Steps 1 through 4. File the originals at the Superior Court of New Jersey for your county, in the Probate Part of the Chancery Division. A filing fee of $200, payable by check or money order, is due at the time of filing.

About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.

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