Guardianship in Texas under Section 602 of the Texas Code is a legal arrangement where an individual is appointed to protect and promote the rights of the individual who cannot care for himself, or is a minor who cannot legally act on her own behalf. Texas recognizes both voluntary and involuntary guardianship arrangements. In order to obtain permanent guardianship, you will need to file a petition before the appropriate Texas probate, juvenile or county court, where the matter will be reviewed and investigated prior to a hearing on the merits of the petition.
Draft your petition for guardianship. You can obtain a blank copy of the form from the county courthouse where the ward (the person subject to the guardianship) resides. While the specifics of the form can vary slightly by county, you will need to input into your petition the information on the proposed ward, the identification of parents (if the ward is a minor) and full financial information on the ward's financial assets. Input into the narrative the reason and basis for your request for guardianship.
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Obtain supporting documentation to supplement your petition. Alongside the petition, you must have a medical examination report performed by a Texas-licensed medical provider within the previous four months. If the ward is mentally retarded, then a psychologist's report is acceptable.
Section 605 of the Texas code allows you to file the petition in county court. After filing of the petition, the clerk will issue a citation which you will need to serve upon the proposed ward via a special process server such as the county sheriff.
Appear on your petition. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the child, along with an investigator to investigate the parties, and generate a report for the court's examination with recommendations regarding the petition, to determine if guardianship is the least restrictive means of providing for the proposed ward. Once the report is filed, the court will set the matter for hearing.
Appear at the hearing on your petition. The court investigator, the guardian ad litem, and the natural parents (if the proposed ward is a minor) will all appear at hearing on the merits of the petition. The court must find by the highest possible civil standard (clear and convincing) that the proposed guardianship is in the best interests of the proposed ward.
If the proposed guardianship is over a minor, and the natural parents are still alive and have not been adjudicated as unfit, the guardianship cannot be granted over their objection.
Based near Chicago, Sameca Pandova has been writing since 1995 and now contributes to various websites. He is an attorney with experience in health care, family and criminal prosecution issues. Pandova holds a Master of Laws in health law from Loyola University Chicago, a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Case Western.