A legal guardianship is a court-ordered arrangement through which the court appoints someone to serve as the guardian of a person who cannot handle his or her own affairs, such as a child or someone mentally disabled. The person to be looked after is known as a ward. The guardian has a duty to protect the interests of his or her ward. A guardianship agreement formalizes this arrangemen
When Can a Guardianship Agreement Be Reversed?
There are cases in which the ward, a concerned third party, or the guardian himself may wish to have the appointment reversed. If any of these parties wish to reverse a guardianship appointment, they can petition the court in certain situations. For example:
- The ward can seek to have the guardian removed if he or she becomes sufficiently competent to handle his or her own affairs.
- A third party or the guardian can seek to have the guardian removed if the guardian is unable or unwilling to perform all the duties necessary to care for the ward.
Any person over the age of 14 and interested in the welfare of the ward can petition for removal of a guardian. It is up to the court whether or not to grant that petition.
How Does the Court Decide Whether or Not to Reverse a Guardianship Agreement?
The power to remove a guardian rests exclusively with the court that appointed the guardian in the first place. It is up to the court to determine if the guardian is unfit for his or her duties, whether the ward no longer requires a guardian, or whether it might be in the ward’s best interests to have a new guardian. Courts are given broad discretion when it comes to deciding whether or not to remove a guardian.
Many state laws have a list of specific grounds for the removal of a guardian. A common ground for removal is when it is in the best interests of the ward. Other common grounds for removal include conviction of a felony, disobedience of court orders, failure to properly use the ward’s funds for his or her support, improper handling of assets, or the departure of the guardian from the state. If none of the grounds for removal are met, the guardian generally cannot be removed.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Remove a Guardian?
Since courts make the final decision when it comes to guardianship, it is best to consult with a lawyer. An experienced family law attorney will help you understand the options available to you if you are seeking to remove a guardian and how to best accomplish your goal.