Guardianship is a legal arrangement that provides the guardian with decision-making authority for the benefit of the ward, the person who is the subject of the guardianship. Grandparents seeking temporary guardianship of a grandchild will need to file a petition for appointment of temporary guardian in the applicable state family court. If the parent(s) of the child agrees to guardianship, the court will likely enter the order, but if the parent(s) object (where their rights have not been terminated or they have not been adjudicated unfit), the court will likely dismiss the petition.
Draft your petition for appointment of temporary guardianship. You can obtain a blank copy of the form packet from the family law clerk in the clerk's office in your county courthouse. Many larger jurisdictions also provide the form online. While specifics vary by jurisdiction, you will need to input your information and information on the grandchild and the natural parents. Enter the information on the minor's property and financial assets, if any. Enter into the narrative portion your reasons and basis for requesting temporary guardianship.
Attach required supporting documentation to your petition. Some states require additional documents to be filed alongside the petition. For example, Georgia requires a certified copy of the child's birth certificate to accompany any petition for temporary guardianship, a consent for criminal background check form and a acknowledgment and consent form to be completed by the parents. Finally, you will need to sign and notarize the petition once completed.
File the petition with the family law clerk in the county courthouse. You will need to pay a filing fee, which can vary from $50 to $200 or more. For example, in Valencia County, New Mexico, the filing fee is $117 as of 2011. Once filed, the clerk will assign a case number and provide you a stamped copy of the petition. Make at least two copies of the petition as the court will keep the original and file it in the court file and return your copy stamped received.
Serve the petition upon the natural parents and any existing guardians by using a special process server such as the county sheriff. Once the parties have had time to review the petition and respond, the court will set the matter for hearing where it will grant the petition upon review of the merits if it finds the temporary guardianship to be in the child's best interest.