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Guardianship of a minor is a legal process that gives the guardian authority to care for and to make decisions on behalf of a child. A guardianship for a minor child may be filed in either the Probate and Family Court or the Juvenile Court. Typically, if there is no involvement with the Department of Children and Families, guardianships are filed in Probate and Family Court.

In order to be successful on a petition for guardianship, the person asking for guardianship of a child must show that the legal parents of the child are unavailable to parent the child or unfit to parent the child. This is not an easy task and a high burden. Most guardianship cases that are started in court typically resolve around issues with drug use, abuse and the like. There may also be a scenario in which parents have died and the child needs a legal caregiver.

A guardianship, however, is not a permanent solution. At any point in time, a parent can petition the court to terminate the guardianship if they become β€œfit” in the eyes of the law. The standard in these cases is not what is in the best interests of the child – it is whether or not the parent is fit. Biological parents have legal rights to parent their children if fitness is proved.

If your family is in need of a guardianship or trying to have a guardianship terminated, please contact us to see what your options may be.