How Do I Gain Temporary Guardianship of a Child in Texas?

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To gain temporary guardianship of a child in the state of Texas, you must be appointed by a judge. Temporary guardianship of a child in Texas is an option only when a minor’s health, safety or estate is in imminent danger. You must appear before a judge in a temporary guardianship hearing and show evidence that an immediate appointment of a guardian is necessary. Texas law allows temporary guardianship for a maximum of 60 days.

Step 1

Contact the court that has jurisdiction over guardianships in the county where the child resides. Typically, the division of the court that handles family law or probate cases also oversees guardianship proceedings. Inquire about the procedure for filing for temporary guardianship of a minor. The office of the clerk of the court -- or the court’s website -- will provide information on applications, fees and any other filing requirements.

Step 2

Obtain the application for temporary guardianship through the court, the county law library, or the office of a family law or probate attorney who practices in the jurisdiction of the county court. The application requires the name and address of the minor who is the subject of the guardianship request and a written description of the alleged imminent danger to the child. Give facts and reasons supporting the allegations of endangerment. The application also requires the name, address and qualifications of the proposed temporary guardian.

Step 3

File the application with the office of the clerk of the county court in the jurisdiction where the child resides. Pay the required fee which varies by county. Expect to pay about $200. A hearing date will be set at the time you file the application. Hearings for temporary guardianship are required by law to be held within 10 days of filing the application. The court will appoint an attorney to represent the child.

Step 4

Present your case before the judge at the hearing for temporary guardianship. Provide the court with “substantial evidence” of an imminent danger to the health or safety of the minor in his present situation. The judge determines whether you have shown “probable cause” that the child requires immediate appointment of a guardian and if you are qualified for the role. Your powers as temporary guardian are limited by the specific circumstances of your request and limitations placed on the guardianship by the court.

Step 5

Terminate, extend or apply for full guardianship at the expiration of the 60-day temporary guardianship period. Temporary guardianship may be challenged or contested at any time during the 60-day period, which would necessitate another hearing. A full or permanent guardianship hearing requires a standard of "clear and convincing evidence" that the appointment is required.

Warnings

  • A physician's certificate is required for permanent guardianship, but some courts will also ask for it in temporary guardianship hearings as proof that the child’s health or well being is in danger.

References

About the Author

Margaret O’Donnell has more than 20 years of experience in writing, researching and editing. She has worked for a variety of organizations, including the law firm of King & Spalding and the National Soft Drink Association, both in Washington, D.C. O’Donnell holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland and a paralegal certification from Georgetown University.

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