Legal guardianship cases are heard every day throughout the United States. Guardianship may be necessary if one or both parents are removed from the child's life or if circumstances require alternative supervision. Obtaining legal guardianship of a child in Texas, for example, requires several essential legal steps. Seek legal counsel – if necessary – to ensure success in your quest to secure guardianship of a minor.
Do the Paperwork
There are a couple different ways to go about obtaining legal guardianship in Texas. The first is for the child's parents to grant you guardianship, which they can do by providing a written declaration appointing you as guardian of their child. The other method, which you'd have to implement if the parents don't voluntarily declare you their child's guardian, is to file a petition for guardianship over a child.
Texas guardianship rules state that to petition for guardianship, you'd have to enlist help from an attorney, because the process is usually complicated and involves going to court to determine the child's best interest. Start by visiting the probate court that oversees the county in Texas where the child currently lives, and request a petition for guardianship from the probate court clerk.
Make Your Case
If you're petitioning for guardianship in Texas, you'll have to demonstrate that it's in the child's best interest. Start by making your case in the petition for guardianship. Clearly state the reasons why guardianship is necessary in this situation, and why the case is urgent.
Complete the petition for guardianship and make at least three copies of it. Return one copy to the probate court clerk and keep the other for your files. At this point, the probate court clerk will give you instructions on how to further proceed with your case. The first step will likely be to request a date for a court hearing.
Take it to Court
Set a date to take the guardianship test required by the Guardianship Certification Board of Texas. Prepare to have your fingerprints processed and a criminal record check performed. Ask the probate court clerk for information and test taking instructions before the examination.
Gather all necessary hard evidence – legal and medical documentation, for example – to support your case. Have witnesses ready to testify for additional support on your day in court. Arrive to court on time and with all necessary evidence. Submit all evidence and testimony to the probate court judge and make your case with clear and convincing language.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images