How to File for Legal Guardianship of Children in MS

By George Lawrence J.D.
Mississippi courts may appoint a guardian if the birth parents are unable to raise the child.

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A child’s legal guardian has the same rights and responsibilities as the child’s birth parents. If the child’s parents die, become disabled, or are otherwise unfit to raise the child (due to mental health problems, abuse or neglect), a Mississippi court can appoint a guardian for the minor child. Children older than 14 may request a specific guardian. Third parties, such as the child’s grandparents, may also petition for guardianship. The court must determine that a guardian is in the best interests of the child.

Write a petition for guardianship. You can obtain forms at the courthouse. The petition should state the names of the child’s birth parents, the child’s name and address, the child’s birth date, your name and address, your relation to the child and facts indicating why you should be appointed guardian.

Send a copy of your petition to the child’s parents or current guardian. Send a copy to the court clerk in the Mississippi court located where the child lives; the clerk will file the petition.

Attend the hearing scheduled by the court to resolve the child custody matter. Once your petition is filed, the court will hear testimony about why you should be appointed as guardian. Interested parties, such as the current guardian or the child’s custodial parent, can argue for or against the appointment. The judge will make a determination on the best interests of the child and appoint you as guardian if it is in the child’s best interests.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

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