In this article...

In this article, we discuss Iowa guardianship FAQ’s including the following:  

  • How is a Guardian appointed?
  • What is needed for the filing process?
  • What about notice and representation?
  • What is the role of a hearing?
  • What are the procedures following the hearing?
  • How do Guardianship's end?

Sometimes, neither parent is capable of caring for a child. This situation may have arisen as a result of death, injury, or some other circumstance. In these situations, creating a guardianship might be the best option. In the other hand, the child could be temporarily residing with a parent or acquaintance. A guardianship is unlikely to be required if one of the parents is willing to authorize medical care and make other decisions for the child.  

Before deciding to give someone else guardianship of their child, parents should weigh all of their options. A guardianship can be difficult to terminate and can continue much longer than expected. Unless a judge orders it, a guardian has no legal duty to allow the parents to visit. A child maintenance case against the parents can also be pursued.  

A school may inform a child's caretaker that the child requires guardianship in order to attend school. A guardianship cannot be required by a school. A guardianship is not required to indicate where someone lives, but the child must live in the school district. The caretaker should clarify that he or she is acting as a parent for the child, and that the child is enrolled in the school system as a result. If the family does not use Iowa's "open enrollment" rule, the school may refuse to enroll a child who is only staying with someone in order to attend a specific school.  

In this article, we discuss Iowa guardianship FAQ’s including the following:  

  • How is a Guardian appointed?
  • What is needed for the filing process?
  • What about notice and representation?
  • What is the role of a hearing?
  • What are the procedures following the hearing?
  • How do Guardianship's end?

How is a Guardian appointed?

A suitable guardian must be identified before a guardianship can be established. The guardian may be a family member or someone else. The first step is to go to court and file a lawsuit. A individual can petition to be appointed as the guardian, or to appoint another family member or friend, among other options. Co-guardianship of a minor may be exercised by two or more adults. In most cases, the guardian must be an Iowa native. A minor who is 14 years or older can also petition the court for the appointment of a guardian.  

What is needed for the filing process?  

The first step in determining a guardianship is to file a petition with the court clerk. Depending on the case, the petition's content will differ slightly. It will include basic information such as the child's name, age, and address. It should also state where the child has lived for the past five years and with whom. If there are any other custody or visitation cases involving the child, it must be stated in the petition.  

If they cannot pay the filing fee, some petitioners may be unable to apply for guardianship. In such cases, the court can allow them to file the case without having to pay the fees in advance.  

What about notice and representation?

The parents of the minor child must be provided with notice after the petition is filed. Furthermore, the court will almost always nominate counsel or a Guardian ad Litem to represent the minor child. That individual will also need to be provided with the notice. The parents may also be appointed an attorney if they object to the guardianship, request an attorney, and cannot afford one.  

What is the role of a hearing?

A hearing or trial on the appeal may be held if anyone objects to who is named as the guardian. The complainant must submit evidence to the court to determine the need for the guardianship at this hearing. Parents are presumed to be the right people to have custody of their own children, according to the law. The applicant would have to resolve this presumption if the parents do not agree to the guardianship. The court will issue a written order outlining its decision following the trial. The deadline for filing an appeal is 30 days.

What are the procedures following the hearing?

If a guardian is named, he or she may be required to sign and notarize an oath. Following that, the court would issue "letters." These letters serve as proof of the guardian's authority to act on the ward's behalf. Every year, the guardian is required to file a report with the court.  

How do Guardianships end?

The guardianship lasts until the child reaches the age of eighteen. The parents will need to file a "petition to terminate" if they wish to end the guardianship sooner. If the guardians do not believe the guardianship should be revoked, the court will hold a hearing. After that, the court must determine if the guardianship is still needed. If the request is refused, the law states that six months must pass before another petition can be submitted.

Request a consultation with an attorney. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

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