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Guardianship of Minor Children Lawyers in Chesterfield, MO

Guardianship of Minor Children Lawyers in Chesterfield, MO

Guiding Clients Through the Process of Becoming Legal Guardians

Parents are a child’s natural guardians, providing guidance and protection to the child while making sure the child’s basic needs are met. In situations where both parents are deceased or no longer able to care for the child for a variety of reasons, family courts allow another adult to step in and play the role of a guardian to a minor child. The attorneys at Mid-America Law Practice LLC explain how guardianship works in Missouri and the ways in which an attorney can help prospective guardians through the process of filing for guardianship. If you have questions about your case, contact the attorneys at Mid-America Law Practice LLC by calling 314-866-9556.

What Is Guardianship, and Why Would It Be Necessary?

In Missouri, guardianship is the legal process that allows a court to appoint a guardian to a minor child. A guardian is an adult responsible for making decisions on behalf of the child, including decisions related to medical care, education, and other key aspects of the child’s life.

Guardianship is typically necessary in situations where both parents of a minor child are deceased or otherwise unable to care for the child due to illness, mental health issues, substance abuse, or other factors that may prevent the child’s parents from providing the child with adequate care. In these cases, a guardian can provide the child with the support, guidance, and protection necessary to ensure the child’s well-being and can make important decisions for the child.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian in Missouri?

In Missouri, a legal guardian’s responsibilities are similar to those of a parent, and their role is not to be taken lightly. Their primary responsibility as a guardian is to make decisions that are in alignment with the child’s best interests. This includes decisions related to the type of medical care the child will receive, where the child may attend school, and where the child will live.

The guardian is also expected to provide the child with a safe and nurturing environment while making sure the child is given guidance and support as they grow and develop their social and emotional skills. The guardian is also required to provide any financial support to the child and must act in accordance with any legal requirements or court orders, such as making sure the child is regularly attending school, receiving proper healthcare, or staying in touch with their biological parents whenever applicable.

How Does a Person Become a Guardian to a Minor Child?

In Missouri, a person can become a guardian to a minor child by filing a petition with the court. This petition must be approved by the court in order for the prospective guardian to become the legal guardian of the minor child. If more than one adult wishes to become the guardian of a minor, the court will likely follow a priority order for applicants. The list gives first priority to the parents of the minor child (unless they are unfit, unwilling, or deceased), with second priority being given to a person named by the child (if the child is 14 or older). Third priority is given to a person appointed by the deceased parents in their will. The fourth preference is given to any capable adult if none of the previous options are available.

The petition is usually filed with the probate court with jurisdiction over the area where the child currently resides. Typically, the petition must include information about the prospective guardian, the child, and the reasons why a guardian appointment is being requested. The court will review the petition and may appoint an attorney to act on behalf of the child.

The court may schedule a hearing during which the potential guardian may be asked to provide proof of their financial capacity to provide for the child as well as their mental capacity to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs. Once the court has determined that the prospective guardian is qualified to become the legal guardian of the child, the court will issue an order granting the guardianship.

Do You Need an Attorney in Order to File for Guardianship?

The guardianship process can be complicated, and while you are not required to retain a guardianship attorney for it, it may be extremely beneficial to do so. A guardianship lawyer can assist you with the process of preparing your petition with all the necessary documents and can accompany you to the court hearing to help you explain to the judge why they should appoint you as the guardian of the minor child you wish to care for, and the reasons why doing so would be in the best interests of the child.

In some cases, the situation may require you to file for emergency guardianship if the child’s property or well-being is believed to be in immediate danger. This process allows you to become the temporary emergency guardian of the child for up to 90 days. An attorney can also assist you with the process of filing for emergency guardianship to help ensure the safety and well-being of the child.

The legal team at Mid-America Law Practice LLC has helped several clients in the Chesterfield, MO, area to navigate their guardianship proceedings with ease. If you would like to get answers about the process of becoming a guardian, contact the guardianship of minor children lawyers in Chesterfield, MO, at Mid-America Law Practice LLC by calling 314-866-9556 and requesting an initial consultation to discuss your case and see how we may be able to assist you.