Coeur d'Alene Guardianship Attorneys
Providing Skilled Legal Guidance Across North Idaho
In Idaho, you can seek to become the guardian of a minor (under certain circumstances) or an incapacitated adult. If granted, your role as a guardian would allow you to protect the individual's well-being, such as making important decisions concerning their care, living arrangements, and education. A guardianship is court-appointed, meaning you must undergo various legal processes, including civil and criminal background checks, to establish it.
Thus, you need to understand your legal rights and the laws concerning the rights of the minor or incapacitated adult you are seeking to protect in order to make a strong case for your appointment as a guardian. With this in mind, it is most effective to handle your matter with our team by your side. At Walsh & Lewis PLLC, our Coeur d'Alene guardianship lawyers have three decades of combined legal experience handling cases like yours, meaning we are well-versed in family law matters. We recognize the difficulties and sensitive nature of seeking an appointment as a guardian, which is why we will approach your case with compassion and understanding.
Although the processes for obtaining guardianship are similar, each case is unique, therefore we are dedicated to delivering the personalized representation you need and deserve. As we guide you through the guardianship process, we will maintain our commitment to providing quality service and to upholding our core values of integrity, initiative, and impact.
What Is Guardianship?
In Idaho, guardianship is a process by which an individual is appointed to make certain decisions for a minor or incapacitated adult. A relative, spouse, adult child, parent, or other competent, interested person may serve as a guardian.
For children, the court may appoint a guardian if the minor has been:
- Denied a stable home environment
A child (or children) may also need a guardian if a prior court order has terminated their parents' rights, or if the child’s parents have died. However, guardianship does not sever the legal relationship between the biological parents and the child(ren). Keep in mind that a guardian is not responsible for the ward's finances ― a conservator handles that duty. A conservatorship can be established at the same time as a guardianship, but the two do not always go hand in hand. As such, our attorneys can help with both the guardianship and conservatorship processes.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?
When appointing a guardian, the court is concerned with protecting the ward's best interests and ensuring the ward receives the care and protection they need. Because each case is unique, the responsibilities of a guardian may differ on a case-by-case basis, but the bottom line is all guardians are responsible for the care, custody, and welfare of their wards.
Typically, a guardian's duties in Idaho include:
- Establishing a place for the ward to live
- Ensuring the ward’s medical, social, and emotional needs are met
- Making decisions concerning basic care, residence, and maintenance
- Giving consent for medical care or other treatment
- Caring for personal effects such as clothing, furniture, and vehicles
- Reporting to the court annually about the ward's well-being and affairs
What Is the Process for Seeking Appointment as a Guardian?
Typically, the guardianship process for a minor child in Idaho follows 10 steps, which may change depending on the nature of the case. These steps include:
Gather your court forms: To begin your case, compile the following forms:
- Family Law Case Information Sheet for De Facto Custodian, Adoption and Minor Guardianship Cases
- Petition for Appointment of Guardian of a Minor
- Notice of Guardianship Petition and Hearing
- Acceptance of Appointment by Guardian
- Consent to Appointment of Guardian
- Waiver of Notice (optional)
- Nomination by Minor (if the child is 14 or older)
Complete the court forms using black ink: Fill out the heading on all forms with the information asked of you, and ensure you fill out the following forms as directed:
- Family Law Case Information Sheet for De Facto Custodian, Adoption and Minor Guardianship Cases: Fill out the form as much as you can with the information asked of you. This form is confidential.
- Petition for Appointment of Guardian of a Minor: As the petitioner, you are required to fill out pages 1 through 4 completely then sign and date them as instructed.
- Notice of Guardianship Petition and Hearing: Sign and date this form but don’t fill out the “hearing date” portion unless a court clerk gave you a hearing date.
- Acceptance of Appointment by Guardian: To show that you want to be appointed as a guardian and assume all relevant responsibilities, sign and date this form.
- Consent to Appointment of Guardian: The parents of the minor whom you wish to be a guardian of must sign this form and check all appropriate boxes to indicate their agreement to the guardianship.
- Waiver of Notice (optional): Any living parent or person who had principal care and custody of the minor within 60 days prior to your petition can opt-out of receiving notice of the guardianship process and related court documents. By signing this optional form, they are waiving their rights to receive any notice and documents.
- Nomination by Minor: If the child whom you are seeking guardianship of is 14 or older, the child must sign and date the form.
Fill out the heading of the forms that the judge will sign: Do not sign the following forms that will be signed by the judge. You must only complete the heading of these forms:
- Order Re-Appointment of Attorney or Guardian ad Litem
- Judgment Appointing Guardian of Minor
- Letters of Guardianship
File the forms with the court and make copies: File the original forms at the courthouse, make copies of all forms for your records, and make a copy for anyone who needs to receive notice of the guardianship process. The filing fee is $216, but if you cannot afford to pay it you can fill out a Motion and Affidavit for a Fee Waiver at the courthouse.
Serve the notice: At least 14 days before the hearing date, mail or personally deliver a copy of your court forms to all people that require notice. You must also fill out and sign the Affidavit of Service before taking it to the courthouse. Remember, you do not have to serve a copy of your court forms to any person who signed a Waiver of Notice.
Attend the court hearing: At your court hearing, a judge will call the case name and number, prompting you to step forward and answer their questions. If the judge grants you guardianship of the minor child, you must sign the order they give you.
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