Guardianship Process- The Attorneys
The court does appoint an attorney to represent your child. That attorney’s job is to represent what your child tells them to do. If your child tells that attorney that they do not feel they need a guardian, I don’t want a guardian; I don’t want mom and dad to be my guardian. That is the attorney’s job to go to court and tell the judge that. The court-appointed attorney might not agree with what your child is asking them to do, that doesn’t matter, lawyers are often times asked to do things they personally don’t agree with. But, that is how our legal system works. Often times in those situations, the court appointed attorney will turn to the judge and somehow communicate to the judge that they feel that it would be appropriate to have a guardian ad litem appointed for this matter. A guardian at litem is another attorney whose job it is to determine what is in the best interest. What is in the best interest might not be what your child actually wants. Those can be two different things. If they are the same, and the attorney doesn’t feel it’s necessary they usually won’t ask for that guardian ad litem. Once you file an independent evaluation will be scheduled. You will get a notice from the court saying someone is going to do an evaluation at his or her office. Your job is to make sure the proposed ward is at that appointment, it can be a medical doctor, social worker, psychologist, usually Judge Clark uses a physician. The physicians job or not to evaluate or treat, the only question that they have to answer is does this person need a guardian? They will fill out a two page form for the court once that form is returned to the court that’s when the court will schedule the hearing that is why it can take six to eight weeks before all this happens if that doctor initials the right paragraph that says this person needs a guardian, chances are after that court hearing there will be a guardian that will be appointed. When you get a copy of that report back and it says your child needs a guardian, chances are it’s going to happen. If that report comes back and says that the child does not need a guardian than you still feel they do, than you have an uphill battle, and it’s not un-winnable but than you will have to present a lot more evidence that your child needs a guardian. This is often the case in mental health issues because at the time the doctor is evaluating the individual, they might be fine and so it’s hard for the doctor to say that they need guardian because at that moment they don’t. Next week they might, last week they did but right now they don’t
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