It’s commonplace for grandparents and other relatives to help parents in times of undue stress. If parents can’t care for their children because of temporary struggles, they can assign guardianship to a trusted relative or friend. This helps ensure that children are always cared for and have the support they need. Once parents no longer need help, they can petition for termination of the guardianship agreements.
What Does It Mean to Terminate Guardianship?
In Oklahoma, adults without legal parenting rights to a child can gain certain rights through the guardianship process. This doesn’t terminate the biological parents’ rights but instead grants those rights to someone else on a temporary basis. Not only does this give the guardian the ability to make decisions on behalf of the minor, but it also gives the family access to financial assistance and other social services when needed.
In addition, guardianship places responsibilities on the guardian to provide adequate food, shelter, education, medical care and supervision for the minor. Terminating guardianship of a minor removes these rights and responsibilities from the guardian. They can then be reassigned to another adult or reclaimed by the biological parents.
Guardians can petition for termination of guardianship agreements on their own. A form to terminate guardianship in Oklahoma can also be filed by the parents or by other adults.
Read More: How to Write Guardianship Letters
When Should You Terminate Guardianship?
Guardianship is meant as a temporary fix to a temporary problem. When a single mom without a partner is dealing with serious health issues, for instance, a grandparent or family friend might step in to handle her parenting responsibilities. Once the mom is healthy again, the guardianship should end.
In Oklahoma, the process of becoming a guardian is not so different from terminating the guardianship. Both processes start by filling out a petition and filing it with the court in the jurisdiction in which the child lives. A hearing is scheduled, and the adults and child meet with a judge to explain why the order is in the child’s best interest.
Additionally, the guardian or another concerned adult may file a form to terminate guardianship in Oklahoma. The petitioner would have to prove the guardian either was no longer needed or not performing his responsibilities. Sometimes, a grandparent or friend realizes too late that caring for a child is difficult. Circumstances also can change, leaving the guardian unable to fulfill his obligations.
What Happens When a Guardian Disagrees on Termination?
Too commonly, a parent is met with resistance when getting guardianship back from the grandparents or other friends and family. The guardian may think the parent’s life isn’t secure enough to take care of the child yet – or at all. In some situations, a guardian may use his newfound rights to alienate the child from the biological parents.
When this happens, the parent must file a petition for termination of guardianship. Once the issue goes before a judge, the parent must show that the temporary hardship is over, and getting guardianship back from the grandparents is best for the child.
How to Terminate a Guardianship When a Child Turns 18
Filing a form to terminate guardianship in Oklahoma is the first step in getting guardianship back from grandparents and other temporary caretakers. That’s true whether parents and guardians get along or not. Kids who want to end the relationship have different remedies.
Filing for emancipation before age 18 is one option. The child would have to meet certain guidelines to prove he could take care of herself. Minors transitioning to adulthood don’t have to worry about ending the agreements as guardianships automatically expire when minors become emancipated or turn 18.
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