In some instances, it may be necessary to remove a custodial parent and obtain guardianship over a minor or incapacitated person for their benefit. In these instances, there is no time for delay. Delay could be costly, if not life-threatening. Chapter 475 of the Probate Code governs guardianship in Missouri. While the statute itself is seemingly straightforward, the process of obtaining a guardianship has many rules that need to be followed. Any false steps can delay the process and cause great risk to the individual. Meanwhile, a custodial parent or another party may have authority over the individual’s decisions and could make decisions resulting in grave harm. When the future of the affected minor or incapacitated person comes into play, it is crucial to be able to have legal backing of the court.
So How Does It Work?
- Guardianship requires you to tell your story. The process starts with a petition to the court. A petition is a legal document that, while nothing like a book, tells a story nonetheless. In the petition, it itemizes who the characters are: there is the petitioner who is applying for guardianship; there is the minor or incapacitated individual; and, in some cases, there is the custodial parent or parent who is unable, unwilling or unfit to take care of the individual. The statute lists what information is needed to tell the whole story, including everyone’s names, addresses and more. The value of assets needs to be declared. An experienced attorney can help make sure that all the details follow code.
- Guardianship involves a court proceeding. This information is provided so that the Court may ultimately make a decision as to whether to enter an Order of Guardianship. Before an Order is entered, however, notice must be given to all interested parties. This means not only the custodial parents and their spouse but also the minor or incapacitated individual.
- Guardianship is not invincible. Guardianship is binding but not permanent. What does this mean? It means that the term is finite. For minors, this means at 18, the guardianship will end. With an incapacitated individual, when their capacity returns (for example, when they awake from a coma) then the guardianship will end. Further, the court order can end the term of a guardianship, and former custodial parent can petition the court to do so.
Call the Law Offices of Kenneth Carp Today to Get Guardianship in St. Louis and St. Charles
Any legal process is not without its pitfalls, and the Missouri guardianship process is no exception. When it comes to the life of a minor or incapacitated individual, time is of the essence, and the guidance of an experienced attorney can have a significant impact on the way your case turns out. Call the Law Offices of Kenneth Carp at (636) 947-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You can also contact us online.