grandparents in garden with grandchildThis is the next post in my series on filing for guardianship of a child in Little Rock, Arkansas. My last article discussed situations in which Courts may and may not be inclined to grant guardianship of a child. It is important to remember that Arkansas law allows interested parties to file for guardianship of a child if they are abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents. The legal definitions of abuse, neglect, and abandonment may not align with your personal meaning of these terms. It is important to retain an experienced attorney if you believe a child may be in danger. In this article I will discuss the process for obtaining guardianship of a child. If you are in need of assistance, please contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.

The first step in obtaining guardianship entails filing a Petition with the Arkansas court and notifying the child’s parents or current caretaker

If you are interested in gaining guardianship over a child, the first step is to file a Petition for the Appointment of a Guardian with the court. This petition is to be filed with the county circuit court in the area where the child resides. For instance, if the child lives in Little Rock, the petition should be filed with the Pulaski County Circuit Court. Once the Petition is filed, the child’s parents or current caretaker must be notified that someone is seeking guardianship of the child. The parent or current caretaker will be given the opportunity to respond. If they consent to the guardianship, then a hearing will not be required and the petition will be granted. However, if the parent or current caretaker does not provide their consent, the parties must attend court proceedings.

It should be noted that if the interested party believes the child is in danger, they can ask the court for the immediate appointment of a temporary guardian. This is done by filing a Petition for Temporary Guardianship. The court will then hold an immediate hearing and decide whether the child should be placed with the interested party until a final decision can be made at a trial. This will ensure that the child is safe until the trial concludes. Since a trial will not be held until a future date, courts will typically grant an immediate temporary guardianship if it would be in the best interests of the child.

Once the trial begins, the court will get to hear from each party that is involved. This includes the person seeking guardianship of the child, as well as the child’s parents or current caretaker. The judge will next listen to all the evidence that has been introduced by all parties and make a decision. Courts consider it to be best for children to be with their parents. Therefore, the court will only grant a guardianship when the parent is found to be incapable of caring or providing for the child. Overall, the ruling will ultimately be based on whether granting guardianship to someone other than the child’s parents would be in their best interests. If the Petition is granted, then the court will appoint a guardian that knows the child well and has had a positive role in the child’s life. This could be a blood relative, or someone not related by blood but who has a close relationship to the child.

You should retain an experienced Little Rock attorney when seeking to file for guardianship of a child

The process of petitioning for guardianship of a child is very complex and can be difficult for those involved. Even if you think that a child should be placed with a different guardian, it does not necessarily mean that this would be in their best interests. I understand that nothing is more important than keeping a child safe and that this is a serious time in your life. My office will give your case the attention it deserves. This includes quickly responding to your requests and maintaining communication throughout the entire duration of your case. Contact my office online or by telephone to speak with an attorney. I also handle matters in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the remainder of Arkansas.