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What are the steps to establishing the guardianship of a child?

Residents of Arkansas or anywhere in the United States who are interested in establishing the guardianship of a child can file the relevant papers with family court for a certain fee. After expressing an interest in guardianship, a resident also needs to obtain a consent letter from the parents of the child, if they are still living and such consent is possible.

Once the petition has been filed, then the court will personally interview the would-be guardian and the child, as well as the parents of the child, if they are available. In a few cases, the court also may order a visit to the home of guardianship candidate. Also, a background check of the guardian is conducted to ensure that guardian does not have a criminal record.

In all matters concerning the guardianship of a child, the court considers the child’s best interests as its primary concern. Hence, if, after reviewing all matters, the court sees that a guardianship will be in the best interests of the child, the court will issue the order accordingly. Once guardianship has been approved, the person should formally establish guardianship by filling out all necessary forms and filing them with the court.

Can a parent appoint a legal guardian for his or her own children? Fortunately, parents can make their wishes known in terms of a guardian for their child,, usually through a last will and testament. Handing over guardianship of your own child may become necessary if you are unable to raise your child due to an unfortunate incident or death. Guardianship can be given to a person whom you trust enough to raise your child in your absence or as stipulated in a last will and testament.

Source: FindLaw.com, “How to Establish Guardianship of a Child FAQs,” accessed on Aug.5, 2014


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