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How does minor guardianship (or non-parental custody) work in Washington State?

As much as parents love their kids, they may not always be in a good position to take care of them. For instance, they may turn to drugs and alcohol during times of stress, which creates an unsafe environment. In this type of situation, the court may appoint a non-parental guardian or minor guardianship in Washington State, who can take over custody. This custody agreement is often temporary. However, the length of time a person may have guardianship depends on whether the parents get back on their feet.

RCW 11.130.190 states that you must meet a few criteria before you can petition to become a child’s guardian. Your petition must include your full name, physical address, and attorney’s contact information. You must also specify how you know the child and why you would like to become the child’s guardian (e.g., perhaps, you are the grandparent and want to keep the child with family while your son/daughter gets help for their dependency issues).

Once a person assumes guardianship over a child, they are then in charge of day-to-day decisions that impact the little one. That may include their health and schooling, among other things.

Who can be appointed a non-parental guardian?

Many individuals can step into this role. Typically, it is a family member, such as a grandparent, uncle, or older sibling. However, even a person who is not related to the child may request non-parental custody if they have assumed the role of a child’s parent before.

Even if a parent wants you to have guardianship, it is up to the court whether that will happen. The process of filing for non-parental custody in Washington State is not easy. You must display evidence that a parent is “unfit” before the court will consider changing guardians or any custody agreement that may be in place.

Be sure to talk with an experienced family law attorney if you need help through the petitioning process. The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer can help you file for temporary guardianship while you await the court’s final decision. We can also help you make the best case for why you are a satisfactory guardian for the child at this time.

Please Note: If you are a grandparent who would like visitation rights, but your grandchild’s parents are fit to care for the child, you do not need to file for minor guardianship. A child custody attorney can help you petition to see your grandchild.

Schedule a free initial consultation with our law office today.

In Washington State, guardianship cases are no walk in the park. Fortunately, the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer is always up for a challenge. We know what the court is looking for, and we can help you prepare your argument as to why the child would be best off with you. Call us anytime to book your first consultation at zero dollars. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about our legal services and how we can help you in securing custody.