Any person interested in the welfare of a minor, or a minor if age 14 or older, may petition the court for a guardianship.
The probate court has jurisdiction over minor guardianships except for juvenile guardianships under the juvenile code. However, the Indian Child Welfare Act governs any action removing an Indian child from his or her parent or Indian custodian for placement in the home of a guardian. Also, for cases started on or after January 1, 1998, the family division of circuit court has secondary jurisdiction.
The person petitioning the court for a guardianship must do so in the county where the minor resides or is present.
A guardian may be appointed only if
the parental rights of both parents or the surviving parent are terminated or suspended by prior court order, divorce, separate maintenance, death, judicial determination of mental incompetency, disappearance, or confinement in a place of detention; or
the parent or parents permit the minor to reside with another person and have not given that person legal authority over the minor; or
the minor’s biological parents never married each other; the parent with custody dies or is missing and the other parent does not have legal custody; and the proposed guardian is related to the minor within the fifth degree by marriage, blood, or adoption.
The court may appoint a lawyer-guardian ad litem to represent the minor if the minor’s interests are not being represented (the court must consider the minor’s preference if the minor is 14 or older).
Additionally, at least once a year the probate court reviews the guardianships of wards under six years old. The court reviews other guardianships as it deems necessary.
If you need help establishing a guardianship for a minor we can help you. Please give us a call.
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