A petition for guardianship can be filed by any of the following:
- An adult relative of the child
- A close family friend
- A child protective agency that wantws to assume legal responsibility for the child
In cases where the parent of the child is suffering from a chronic or potentially fatal illness, another individual may ask to be made a stand-by guardian in the event that the parent becomes unable to care for the child.
The petitioner, as the individual seeking to be appointed guardian of the child, must provide testimony and other evidence demonstrating that such an appointment is in the best interests of the child.
In addition, the probation department or a social services agency will investigate the petitioner to determine whether it would be in the best interests of the child for the petitioner to be made the child's guardian.
A child over the age of 14 has the right to testify in court and express a preference for a legal guardian.
Guardianship responsibility expires when the child reaches the age of 18.Family Court Home Page