Two African American minor sisters looking at each other, smiling

Legal Guardianships

DC and Maryland Minor Guardianship Attorney

Legal Guardianships

DC and Maryland Minor Guardianship Attorney

There are times when a minor child’s parents cannot or will not provide them with the level of care and concern they deserve, potentially exposing the child to dangerous circumstances and living arrangements. A minor guardianship may offer an ideal solution if you wish to take on the minor’s role of caretaker and have primary decision-making authority in everyday day-to-day responsibilities.

At The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl, our attorneys have years of experience navigating the often emotionally charged dynamics of minor guardianship proceedings in DC and Maryland. Like you, we believe that a child’s best interests should be the primary focus of their upbringing. Our extensive training in representing these types of cases has benefited many of our clients.

Understanding the Basics of Guardianship of a Minor

Guardianship and child custody share many similar elements and purposes, but there are several key differences between them. Unlike custodial rights, guardianship only permits an adult to exert legal authority in matters related to the minor’s everyday life decisions. It does not award custody but bestows legal power to act in the child’s best interests.

An advantage of this guardianship is that one does not necessarily have to seek termination of parental rights. This is how grandparents can take care of their grandchildren while the parents are temporarily unable to participate in rearing their children. These actions frequently occur in hopes of relinquishing obtained guardianship rights in the future because of the flexible nature of these orders.

Maryland and DC do allow interested parties in the case to contest petitions for minor guardianship appointments. When this occurs, you can expect to attend a court hearing to provide evidence supporting your petition. At this juncture, if the contesting party received notice of the hearing but has no objection or fails to appear, the court could proceed with ruling on your request.

Types of Minor Guardianship Options

When you choose to pursue guardianship of a minor, you need to decide if you want to care for the child, their property, or both. For some, this can be a confusing aspect of this process that requires further information and legal advice from a lawyer specializing in this area of law.

Whichever approach you take, once you are responsible for the everyday legal decision-making for the minor, you will need to comply with any requirements made by the court regarding the management of their healthcare, education, and assets. Technically, the child is the court’s ward, and you are acting on the court’s behalf in handling the day-to-day responsibilities.

A previously created estate plan that already designates you as a guardian can help avoid this often emotionally frustrating process in situations where a minor’s parents became incapacitated or pass away.

What Happens if the Parents or Other Relatives Contest My Guardianship Request or Want to End the Order?

While not always the case, it is common for actions to obtain a minor’s guardianship to be contested by the parents or other relatives wanting to care for the child. This can also happen after you receive approval of your request by the court. 
 
Suppose you are a parent seeking to contest a pending guardianship case or end an existing order. In that case, you have several options available to do so under the law, but you must show good cause for doing so. The court’s primary focus is the well-being of your child. 
 
The most common ways to contest or end a minor guardianship order are:
 
  • Attending the initial “Show Cause Hearing” and sharing your concerns with the court
  • Filing an objection to guardianship
  • File a motion to end the order and start the process over
  • Petition the court to end control of the minor child 
 
Whether you seek the right to take care of a minor child or want to end such an order and regain your legal rights to your child, you must do so quickly. These matters are time-sensitive and can carry a toll on the child’s overall well-being. Please speak with the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl right away to discuss your minor guardianship concerns and learn more about the years of case successes we had. , This is a time-sensitive matter. If your family is in this situation, please contact our  family lawyers immediately.

Why You Should Hire a Guardianship Attorney

Before attempting to fill out a cheap online packet of paperwork, consider that turning to an attorney to advise and represent you during your guardianship case brings better value. When pursuing these types of actions, a family law attorney can help you by:
 
  • Explaining the role you must take on, and expected duties should you become a child’s guardian.
  • DIY paperwork errors are a common issue that can delay your court action, which is why letting a knowledgeable attorney like Thomas Stahl file your pleadings for you can streamline the process
  • DIY paperwork packets do not look out for your best interests in guardianship proceedings. An attorney will represent you and push for your better interests throughout the entire process.
 
If you are in the midst of a stressful situation where your grandchild or minor relative needs a safe place that is stable and secure, contact The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl today at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280, or reach online to schedule your consultation.

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