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Guardianship Law Attorneys at O'Flaherty Law

Our guardianship attorneys offer experienced-level experience for our contested and uncontested guardianship clients.
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Guardianship LawAttorney Kevin O'Flaherty

"Kevin was extremely professional, responsive and knowledgeable when I came to him for help. I would definitely recommend O'Flaherty Law!"

What we offer

Guardianship Law Services

Adult Guardianship

Contested Guardianship & Guardianship Litigation

Guardianship Litigation & Disputes

Guardianship of Minor Children





Client Testimonials

Christi M.

Kevin's firm handled setting up my will and trust recently. They took something that seemed intimidating and made it easy to understand. I've also referred a couple clients to Kevin - he's trustworthy, approachable and very fairly priced.


"I've used Kevin and his firm's services since 2011. He gave undivided attention to my cases, advised me on different options and..."

Rachel B.

"Kevin was extremely professional, responsive and knowledgeable when I came to him for help. I would definitely recommend O'Flaherty Law!"

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Attorney Consultation

The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.

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Expertise Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago 201710 Best 2016 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law AttorneysAvvo Clients' Choice 2016 DivorceRising Stars Kevin P. O'Flaherty SuperLawyers.com10 Best Law Firms 2018 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Legal Counsel Attorneys Estate Planning Law40 under forty

Not All Guardianship Attorneys Are The Same

Adult and child guardianship involve significant risks and responsibilities. Surrendering parental privileges and assuming those duties are not accomplished through an informal agreement. Even if parents want to waive their rights to willing caretakers, the parties must follow a specific procedure.

The guardianship attorney you select can have a significant impact on your life and the life of the individual you are seeking guardianship over. When determining who you want to stand by your side during guardianship proceedings, you will want an attorney who is knowledgeable, communicates with you, explains the complexities of the court proceedings and advocates for you in court by clearly expressing your qualities and abilities to serve as a guardian.

Maintenance of a minor’s or adult’s welfare can change over time. Modifications may require further interference by government agencies or childcare facilities that report to the court. The court itself may appoint a guardian under restrictive terms that require constant monitoring and supervision, even if that plan does not really serve the child’s or adult’s needs.

Our Guardianship Lawyers Can Guide You Through the Guardianship Process!

The guardianship process begins with a petition. This involves filing official paperwork at the court with control of your case. Depending on whether the parties with current parental privileges consent to the guardianship, these forms may change. Minors 14 years of age or older must also consent to the guardianship. If no one steps into the parental role, the court can appoint a professional or childcare agency to raise the child. Once this happens, the court will order regular maintenance checks to ensure adequate performance by the welfare provider.

Adult guardianship procedure can be equally complicated and often involves multiple assessments of the individual seeking or requiring guardianship. The team at O’Flaherty Law will ensure that the guardianship process is as simple as possible. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information to determine the form of guardianship you wish to pursue, that all appropriate documents are filed in a timely manner and that you are prepared for all future proceedings.

At O’Flaherty Law, our seasoned guardianship attorneys balance all these factors to determine the right course of action for you. Whether that means appointing the right guardian, taking over parental privileges, or avoiding guardianship altogether, you can count on putting the best legal minds to work on your case.

What to Expect from Your Guardianship Attorney

Whether you are seeking guardianship yourself or for someone else, you will want help navigating the legal process. A guardianship lawyer will guide you through the procedures required to assume the legal role of “guardian.” No matter how much you have read, you will want to start by consulting a legal professional, preferably one familiar with family and probate law. Once you find a reputable guardianship law firm, schedule a phone or virtual consultation.

Bring all the documents you have acquired regarding the guardianship and be frank about what you want from the relationship. All communication with your guardianship lawyer remains confidential, including what you discuss in the initial consultation. Some details that you think unimportant can be critical to your case. You will learn what distinguishes different types of “guardianship:” temporary versus permanent, conservatorship versus power of attorney. If you are not appointed guardian by the court, discuss whether you have the consent of the party giving up guardianship or ask about the full range of duties you are waiving.

Finding a good guardianship lawyer is just the beginning. The attorney will ask questions to narrow down the issues and create a strategy to get an agreement that most benefits you. You have not consented to any legal services or related fees until you sign an agreement in writing. Because most guardianship forms are filed in court, having an advocate can save you time and money. In some cases, guardianship attorneys appear in family or probate hearings on your behalf. Guardianship terms can change, so be ready to talk to your attorney before going to court.

Securing Child Guardianship

Securing child guardianship

Except for some types of guardianship like those designated by the court or a government program, securing guardianship requires familiarity with how to best serve the interests of the child or the child’s estate. If you are not a guardianship lawyer, this may require securing the consent of an interested third-party and taking court-mandated childcare courses. If guardianship over a child or estate is contested, you must file a petition with the court declaring the lack of consent. The application for appointment as guardian at least requires consent when the minor is 14 or older and disclosure of status as a child in need of services (CHINS).

Securing Adult Guardianship

Any individual 18 years of age or older who is of sound mind can be appointed a guardian of a disabled person. That individual must not have been convicted of a serious crime and must demonstrate to the court an ability to protect the well-being and the estate of the disabled person.

A disabled person is an individual who is unable to make decisions because of a mental incapacity, physical incapacity, or, in some cases, addition. An individual making unpopular decisions does not qualify them as a disabled person.

Temporary Guardianship for Children

For children, guardianship typically ends once the child turns 18. But a guardian is not absolved of all responsibility on the child’s eighteenth birthday. Depending on the court in charge of your case, conditions of release may be different. Courts are generally unwilling to allow termination of guardianship before the legal age of emancipation because teenagers can then become “wards” or the responsibility of the state or may be placed in foster care.

Those who want to end guardianship before the child turns 18 should have a valid argument and viable substitute to get approval from the court. With the help of a guardianship attorney, the court may also grant guardianship or custody in cases where:

  • No one else has been appointed
  • There is a crisis or emergency
  • The child’s safety and welfare are in danger and
  • No other party has legal power to act in an emergency

If the court finds immediate and irreparable injury would occur without such appointment, it will delegate a temporary guardian or custodian for a period set by the court. A temporary custodian may also be appointed if it finds temporary suspension of parental rights necessary to protect the child. Upon the death of a parent with custody, the court may also name a temporary guardian if one is not already provided for in writing.

Temporary Guardianship for Adults

A temporary guardianship is an emergency action by the court. A temporary guardian is appointed when an emergency occurs, like the death of a prior guardian, and time does not permit the proper guardianship proceedings. A temporary guardian is appointed when the necessity of a guardian for the welfare and protection of a disabled person has been demonstrated to the court. A temporary guardianship is only in place for 60 days or until a guardian is regularly appointed, whichever comes first.

Adult Guardianship

Adult guardianship

Adult guardianship or conservatorship is only necessary where the adult is incapacitated or incapable of personal and financial decisions regarding their care. Guardianship for disabled adults carries many responsibilities and exposes trustees to lawsuit brought by interested beneficiaries. For an agreed-upon fee, adult guardians may have to:

  • Take mandatory courses on being an adult guardian
  • Appoint a professional guardianship lawyer
  • Account for all income and expenses of the estate
  • Engage in financial transactions that benefit the grantee

Guardianship Papers and Guardianship Forms

Guardianship papers and official forms must be filed with the court by all interested parties. The type of petition you file will depend on whether the parents or party with parenting privileges consent to the arrangement. Common consensual guardianship forms may include:

- Notice of Appearance if Not Represented by a Guardianship Lawyer
- Verified Petition for Appointment of Guardian of the Minor
- Confidential Guardianship Registry Information Sheet
- Notice of Exclusion of Confidential Information
- Waiver of Notice & Consent to the Appointment of Guardian

Guardianship papers for cases in which parties with parenting rights do not consent to guardianship are like those above except they may also include:

  • Application for Appointment as Guardianship Form
  • Consent When Minor is 14 Years of Age or Old
  • Disclosure of Child in Need of Services (CHINS) Status

All guardianship forms contain a proof of service or delivery to individuals with current parenting rights. They must appear for the court-scheduled hearing. A guardianship lawyer will ensure your petition is properly filed with the correct court, avoiding delays in the process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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