There may be a situation where, to regain custody of your child, you need to terminate guardianship. For instance, if grandparents can tell the child is not in a healthy environment because the parents are having marital problems or a parent is having substance abuse problems, the grandparents may request guardianship of the child. If the grandparents obtain guardianship, they will be able to make all the decisions in the child’s life. Then, if the parents find themselves in a stable relationship or with their substance abuse problem taken care of, they will want guardianship back. Then the parents will request a termination of guardianship.
In such situations, the parents cannot just take the children back and be the legal guardians again. Guardianship is terminated when one of these things happen:
- The child turns 18
- The child is adopted, marries, enters the military, or is declared an adult by court order
- The child dies before turning 18
- The court ends the guardianship
The first 3 things end the guardianship automatically. The last item requires a court order. Also, The party with guardianship to agree to terminate their own guardianship. If the guardian wants to resign, they have to show it would be in the child’s best interests to do so, and the court will appoint a new guardian. Guardianship can be terminated by the child if they are 12 years of age or older, the parents of the child, or the guardian. When appointing a new guardian, the court will consider:
- The child’s best interests. The person asking for termination of guardianship has to be able to prove that is in the best interests of the child.
- If the parent wants the child to live with them again, they will be asked to prove they have a stable place to live, they have a steady income, they are “fit” to be a parent, and that they can provide a good home for the child.
- If the child is 12 years or older, the court will want to know where they wish to live.
Before you can terminate a guardianship, you will have to go through a rigorous process with a lot of forms, and it would be helpful for you to ask an attorney for help. If you are trying to end a guardianship to gain custody of your child, it may be helpful to show the court the following:
- Your situation has changed in a positive way
- You are now able to provide for the child’s daily needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, child care, education, and medical care.
- You have the physical and emotional ability to care for the child by providing supervision, guidance, instructions, and appropriate discipline.
- You have made plans for your family, for the immediate future and for later, that will benefit the child.
- You have supported the child on your own account, even if the court has not ordered you to do so.
- You visit the child on a regular basis, without a court order.
- You are financially stable and working regularly at a job that provides sufficient income to support your family, and you have not had any recent evictions or creditor problems.
- You have frequent contact and good relationships with family members, friends, school, and church or community organizations.
- If you have not been able to work, you have gotten assistance, such as food stamps, to support your family until you can work.