After filing and serving the guardianship papers, the proposed guardians and the children must appear at a hearing in front of a judge. The parents and other relatives can also attend. The judge will then decide whether to grant the guardianship. Read this section to find out the things you must do before the guardianship hearing and what to expect at the hearing.
Preparing for the Hearing
There are many things the proposed guardians must do to be ready for the hearing. Make sure all of the following items are completed before the hearing:
- Serve the Relatives/Agencies and File Proof of Service or Consents. Not serving the required relatives and agencies with the Petition and Citation is perhaps the biggest reason that guardianship hearings do not go forward. Make sure you know Who Must Be Notified and make sure you properly Serve the Child's Relatives before the hearing. Remember to file proof with the court that each person was notified of the proceedings (through a certificate of mailing, a declaration of service, or a waiver). If a parent or anyone else has signed a consent to the guardianship, be sure that is filed.
- Arrange for the Children to Appear at the Hearing. The children you are asking to be named the guardian over must appear at the hearing.
Who Must Attend the Hearing
Anyone asking to be named the guardian must attend the hearing. The children over whom the guardianship is requested, the "proposed protected minors," must also attend the hearing. Any other relatives or interested persons may attend the hearing if they have anything to share with the judge.
Make sure you arrive for the hearing at least 20 minutes early so you have time to park, get through security, and find the courtroom.
At the hearing, the judge will ask the proposed guardians any questions that the judge might have. If the children are older, the judge may ask them some questions as well. Anyone who is against the guardianship will also be able to tell the judge the reasons they are opposed.
After the judge has heard from everyone, the judge may decide immediately whether to grant or deny the guardianship. If the judge needs to hear more before deciding on the guardianship, the judge may set a trial where the judge will hear from witnesses and examine any other evidence. Follow any instructions given by the judge if the judge does not make a final decision at this hearing.
If the judge approves the guardianship, there are many more forms that the guardians must complete and file with the Clerk of Court. Visit After the Hearing to find out the final important steps to take to complete the guardianship case.