Guardianship Process – The Court Hearing
The court does conduct a hearing, so you will have to go to court and you will have to present evidence. Evidence is anything that you have personally experienced; you are free to tell the court about. You cannot say “well I heard he did this” That is not evidence “I have seen him do this” that is evidence. And you are free to talk about that all day long. I like to use IEPs in these proceedings, you as mom and dad are part of the IEP team. You are part of the body that creates this document. You can testify to what is in the IEP. So, one of the goals for your child this year is to be able to recognize a five dollar bill, three out of five times correctly. That tells the court, ok, this person, right now, cannot recognize a five dollar bill, and they are hoping at best that he will get it three out of five times. That is some good information to be able to get across and to share, if the court does find that the proposed ward does need a guardian, than the question will be “who is the most appropriate guardian?” often times it’s the people who came to court and said I want to be the guardian. If there are more than one person who wants to be the guardian, that’s when problems can develop. The is where exs will sometimes decide this is a good time to try and fight for custody, again. I will let you know probate court is not like family court, probate court is not trying to keep the family together and make sure everyone is involved, probate court wants one decision maker, they want one person accountable, they don’t want to have people pointing fingers saying “Well, I thought you were going to handle it” they want to know who got decision making authority. The only time I’ve seen the court name co-guardians is when mom and dad are married to each other, living in the same household and both are involved in the care of the child, then you can ask for co-guardians and often times the court will do it. I won’t say that it is common, but it is done, when you named the guardian, you will take an oath and the court will issue letters of guardianship, these letters one sheet, one page court document, that is your authority to act on this individual’s behalf. I like to gat many court copies, maybe five of six, you carry one on you at all times somehow, your child needs to carry one at all times especially if they are out in public. The school should have one, the doctor should have one. If there is a hospital that you routinely go to, it’s a good idea to have one in their files as well, that way everybody knows that you have the authority to make these decisions
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