How to Obtain Temporary Guardianship

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When a parent is unable to care for her child due to imprisonment, extended travel or another circumstance, temporary guardianship ensures the care and upbringing of a child during the absence. A temporary guardianship arrangement is a legal transfer of responsibilities from a parent or guardian to another caregiver. Temporary guardianship arrangements can also guarantee the care of a vulnerable adult who is unable to make decisions for himself. Each state has its own laws for granting temporary guardianship.

Secure the cooperation of the individual who has legal custody of the child or vulnerable adult. In most cases, temporary guardianship of a child cannot be obtained without the consent of both parents, unless those parents have surrendered their parental rights. With regard to vulnerable adults, the permission of the legal guardian or conservator will be necessary.

Determine the period of time that the temporary guardianship will last. Because temporary guardianship is not a permanent transfer of custodianship, you must indicate the dates for which the guardianship will be in effect.

Petition temporary guardianship in the court of the county where the ward lives. You can obtain the guardianship petition from the clerk of the court. Submit the petition with the filing fee.

Wait for a hearing date. The court will summons you to a hearing and will also notify the legal guardians of the child or vulnerable adult. Attend the hearing and present your reasons for taking temporary guardianship.

Wait for the disposition of the court. The judge will issue a written order granting temporary guardianship to you, if she rules in your favor. You will become responsible for all aspects of the child or vulnerable adult's life, including education, property and daily living needs.


  • Courts can give temporary guardianship over the objections of a legal guardian or parent if it is in the best interests of the child or vulnerable adult. In such circumstances, the court will advise the legal guardian or parent of the proceedings to grant temporary guardianship, but her lack of consent to the arrangement will not impede the court from granting temporary guardianship to another individual.


About the Author

Trudie Longren began writing in 2008 for legal publications, including the "American Journal of Criminal Law." She has served as a classroom teacher and legal writing professor. Longren holds a bachelor's degree in international politics, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in human rights. She also speaks Spanish and French.

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