How to Apply for Legal Guardianship in Arkansas

By Nicholas Nesler
There are specific procedures to follow when applying for legal guardianship in Arkansas.

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The law in Arkansas allows any adult with a sound mind and a clean background check to apply for guardianship of a minor child, or an adult who has been deemed mentally or physically incompetent. Those wishing to apply for guardianship can enlist the aide of an attorney to assist them or can also file the necessary forms on their own in their local county probate court. A hearing will be set and the case will be argued after all the required paperwork and notifications have been completed.

Set up an appointment to meet with an attorney who specializes in family law. The attorney will draft a guardianship petition for you and will include all the reasons you are requesting guardianship. You can also obtain a copy of a guardianship petition for the probate court in the county where the child or person lives. The form lists the requirements needed to complete the petition,

Keep in mind that if you are applying for guardianship of a child, preference is always given to natural parents. If you are applying for guardianship of an adult who does not consent to the guardianship, the adult will have to be found incompetent by a judge before you can be granted guardianship.

File the petition with the probate court clerk. You will be asked to pay the filing fees. Your attorney can also file the petition for you and include the fees along with your attorney fees. You will receive a stamped copy of the petition and a court date will be set.

Notify everyone who is involved in the guardianship case by sending a copy of the stamped petition by certified mail. If you have hired an attorney, the attorney will provide this service for you. Failure to provide notice will result in the court continuing the guardianship matter.

Present all your evidence at the court hearing and any witnesses you have to best illustrate why the court should grant you guardianship. This can include witnesses such as child welfare workers, physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists as well as teachers, case managers, care givers or anyone who could have personal knowledge of the child or adult in this matter.

About the Author

Nicholas Nesler has worked in journalism for over 10 years as a reporter, photo editor and sports editor. Nesler has written for "The Batesville Guard" and the "Paragould Daily Press." His awards include the '07 FOI award from the APME. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro and his master's degree in education at the University of Central Arkansas.

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