How to Appoint Guardianship of a Child in Virginia

Guardianship allows you to take care of a minor where the parents are unable or unwilling.
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When the welfare or care of a child is in question and needs to be addressed, a Virginia court will appoint an adult as the child's guardian. A guardianship can be temporary during the pendency of a custody hearing or can be a long-term arrangement when the natural parents are unable or unwilling to care for a child. Guardianships are also common when dealing with incapacitated elderly individuals.

Complete the Guardianship of Minor form, and file in the county courthouse where either the child resides, or where there are pending matters related to the child. You will need to list your relationship to the child, as well as provide personal information such as your criminal history. Alongside the Guardianship of Minor form, you will need to file a motion requesting guardianship and requesting a hearing.

Provide notice to all related parties. Once you file the motions you will receive a stamped copy from the clerk with a hearing date. Make copies of this stamped copy and mail via registered mail to all the parties involved in the case. Ask to review the file to make sure all attorneys and parties are identified. If you do not send notice the court will not hear your case and will simply give you a future date to show that you have properly served all parties.

Read More: How to Obtain Legal Guardianship of a Child

Appear in court and discuss matter with all parties. The court will set the matter for hearing on your motion if the parties cannot come to an agreement. Talk to all parties to see if there are any objections to your taking guardianship of the child. In cases where the natural parents are not present, or deemed not fit, and you represent the closest family relations, there may be no objections to your appointment.

Present your case at hearing on your motion. If no compromise or agreement has been made, then you will need to present your case to the judge to obtain guardianship. At this hearing you can show the court your ties to the minor, the nature and extent of the current relationship, and your ability to provide and care for the minor. In addition, if the minor is older, she can express her desire to reside with you.

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