This is the next article in my series on filing for guardianship of a child in Little Rock, Arkansas. My last post discussed the process for obtaining guardianship of a child. It is important to remember that the first step to begin the process is to file a Petition with the court. If the guardianship is not consented to by the child’s parents or current caretaker, you may have to endure a lengthy trial. It is possible to request immediate temporary guardianship of the child in the meantime in order to ensure the child’s safety. If you believe a child may be in danger, you should speak with an attorney who can assist you with this process. In this article I will discuss what parents can expect when someone obtains guardianship of their child. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Arkansas judges will typically require visitations of the child’s parent(s) to be supervised by someone other than the legal guardian
When guardianship of a child is granted to a non-parent, the court will almost always allow the parent(s) to have visitation rights. The only time visitation will not be granted is when there are extenuating circumstances, such as it would be dangerous for the child to be in the parent’s presence. If visitation is granted, the guardian must make sure that the visitation occurs. The court will require visitation to be supervised in most cases. The supervisor is typically a social worker or a family member that is not the guardian of the child. The court will also specify how the supervised visits will work and may prescribe the location of the visits. This could be at the courthouse or another community location.
If the guardian does not ensure that the visits occur in the manner required by the court, they could be held accountable. The court is very concerned with ensuring that children’s needs are met and often believes this entails getting to spend time with their parents. Therefore, if the guardian does not follow through with the visitation, they could be held in contempt of court or even lose their status as guardian. They could also suffer these types of consequences if they disparage the parents to the child. If the legal guardian is not respectful of the court’s orders, the court may opt to make changes to the situation.
Arkansas courts will aim to end the guardianship and reunite the child with the parents when it is in the best interests of the child
In most cases, the guardian will be required to periodically report back to court to make sure that the guardianship is still necessary. The court will review the terms of the guardianship and check on how the child is doing. In most cases, the court will want to reunite the child with their parents, but only if it is in the best interests of the child. If there is evidence that a parent has turned his or her life around, the court may terminate the guardianship. This may also happen if all parties consent to the termination. For example, this may occur if a guardianship was granted because the parent was using drugs but later attends rehab and consistently tests clean. At these checkups, the court may also modify existing guardianship terms if the parties consent or if the modification is in the best interest of the child.
Guardianship situations can be very tricky and the court will mainly be concerned with the child’s health and safety. I understand that nothing is more important to someone than their children and that this is a serious time in your life. If you or a family member are seeking guardianship of a child, then contact my office today to speak with a Little Rock lawyer. My office will give your case the attention it deserves. This includes quickly responding to your requests and making sure you understand the guardianship process. Contact us online or by telephone to speak with an attorney. We also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the remainder of Arkansas.