How To Become A Legal Guardian In Texas

According to the law, the natural guardians are the biological or adoptive parents of a child. After a divorce, the parent with full custody is the natural guardian of the child. The natural guardian is expected to provide the child with all the basic needs and security.

However, in certain situations, the natural parent might not be up to the task of taking full care of the child. In such situations, the child might be assigned an appointed guardian. The appointed guardian must go through a court process before being given custody of the child, and this is where a guardianship attorney comes in.

When the petition to be a guardian is accepted, one becomes a legal guardian. A legal guardian has the following authority over the child:

a) He or she can enroll the child in a public school within his or her community.

b) He or she can request and accept medical treatment on behalf of the child.

c) He or she is expected to care for the general welfare of the child.

How Do You Become A Legal Guardian?

The process of obtaining legal guardianship involves a number of steps:

1. Complete all the required forms.

These forms are found in the probate court of the county in which the child lives. There is a fee that is charged for filing and filling these forms, a fee that can be waived if you are unable to pay for them. The form you obtain will depend on whether you want temporary or permanent guardianship.

2. File the forms.

After filling the forms, mail or hand-deliver the forms. Keep a copy.

3. Notify the natural guardians.

Ensure that you inform the natural guardians that you are petitioning for the guardianship of the child. You also have to inform the minor if he or she is older than 14 and has not consented. This is done by mailing or delivering to them a copy of the court papers that you have filed.

4. Go to court.

A date for the court hearing is set, and on the said day, you are expected to appear in court together with the other parties. If the parties agree, the process takes a shorter time and is less expensive. However, if the petition is contested, both parties have to prove their case in court. Each side is advised to have a qualified and experienced guardianship lawyer to give them a better chance of winning the custody. You hold the burden of proof as you are expected to give evidence of why the child should stay with you and not with his natural guardians.

5. Receive the court's decision.

After the court has heard both sides, the judge decides whether or not to grant guardianship to the plaintiff. If you are assigned guardianship, you are expected to file an official document agreeing to the responsibility. The decision as to whether your guardianship is temporary or permanent lies with the court.

Temporary guardianship can last for up to six months only while permanent guardianship lasts until the minor turns 18.

Responsibilities Of A Legal Guardian

Becoming the legal guardian of a child involves a lot of responsibility. At the Law Office of Enacio B. Barretto, I explain to you the magnitude of the responsibility you undertake upon being the legal guardian of a minor.

Get a lawyer today — call 210-399-0341 or send us an email to get started.