Sadly, some children grow up in homes where they are not properly looked after, cared for, appreciated, or loved. Ignoring for a moment why a parent, or parents, would do this, some other adult figure in the child’s life may decide to step in and intervene, offering to take custody of the child and raise them as if they were their own child; this process makes the third party the new legal guardian of the child. While becoming a guardian is a relatively simple process, it is best to have a Beaverton family law attorney assisting you through the process as there are some requirements during filing that you need to attend too.
In the case of a child, a family member, family friend, or concerned adult that knows the child and family may request guardianship either due to financial troubles on the part of the parent(s), because the parents have passed away, or to remove the child from an unloved/abusive home. In order to become a legal guardian, you must:
- Be 21 years, or older
- File a petition in the district court where the child (also known as the ward) lives
- Pay filing fees
- Pass an investigation looking into the background of the ward, their situation, and the guardian’s history.
If successful, the courts will grant guardian rights and from then on, the guardian must oversee the everyday decisions of the child and submit yearly reports to the court. As long as no transgressions are committed, you remain a guardian until the child turns 19 years old. This can be shortened if the child marries, or joins the military, before that time.
As an addendum, children are not the only ones who can become a ward under a guardian; a person with severe health issues who is unable to make decisions in their best interest and safety can be taken in as a ward under a guardian. They must prove to the courts that the ward cannot take care of themselves.
As we mentioned, becoming a guardian is easy enough, but it is best to have a Beaverton family law attorney by your side through the process to avoid bumps in the road. If you have any questions or are considering becoming a legal guardian, call our offices, or visit us, for more in-depth information and to plan out your next moves.