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Contested Guardianship Lawyers

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What Is Contested Guardianship?

Guardianship is an arrangement where one person, known as the guardian, assumes legal responsibility for the care and provisions of another person, known as the ward. In many cases, this involves an adult caring for a minor; however, in many cases, it can involve an adult caring for another adult. For instance, guardianship can occur for disabled persons or for elderly persons.

Contested guardianship is where the guardian status of a person is challenged or called into question. This can happen if the person is not fulfilling their role as guardian. An example of a failure in guardianship is when the guardian fails to provide basic living necessities for the person. Contested guardianship is common in cases where neglect or abuse is an issue.

How Does the Court Determine Who Is Fit to Be a Guardian?

In cases where guardianship is contested, legal proceedings in court may be required. The courts will analyze a number of factors to determine which person is best suited to act as guardian of the ward. The factors used by the court include:

  • The relationship of the proposed guardian to the ward (i.e., whether they are related or a close friend)
  • The nature of the ward’s condition (whether they are a minor, disabled, elderly, or have special needs)
  • Whether or not there is a formal guardianship letter signed by the ward (this letter may contain instructions or preferences regarding a guardian)
  • Whether or not the guardianship is being enacted in an emergency situation
  • Whether or not the guardianship is a temporary arrangement
  • The financial background of the guardian
  • The mental, physical, and emotional stability of the guardian

An analysis of these factors is usually helpful for the courts if there is a guardianship legal dispute. If a person is found to be unfit as a guardian, they will be excluded from the determination.

What Are Competing Guardianship Applications?

Competing guardianship applications exist where more than one person is applying to be a ward’s guardianship at the same time. For instance, suppose an elderly woman needs a guardian who will take care of some of her needs. In such cases, it is common for a son or a daughter to apply to be her guardian. If more than one person is applying to be a guardian at the same time, this is referred to as “competing guardianship applications.”

Here, the court will need to analyze all parties involved to determine which guardian would best serve the ward’s interests. In cases where siblings are applying to be the guardian, it can be a close call if they have similar backgrounds. Each party may need to provide evidence and support as to why they would be the most suitable guardian. The situation can also be further complicated if there are issues involving the termination of an existing guardianship.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Contested Guardianship Issues?

Guardianship in itself can be a complex legal issue; the matters can be even more complex if the guardianship arrangements are contested or challenged. You may need to hire a family law lawyer in your area if you need any help or assistance with a guardianship claim. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice regarding your rights as a guardian or potential guardian. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit or legal claim challenging guardianship, your attorney can provide you with legal representation in a court of law.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-19-2018 06:41 PM PDT

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