Getting Guardianship of a Child

Getting Guardianship of a Child

Last updated: April 2013

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Illinois law allows a guardian to be appointed for different reasons. A legal guardian has the same responsibilities as a child’s natural parent. There are 4 types of guardians:A “Permanent Legal Guardian” is responsible to feed, clothe, house and educate the child. A “Guardian Ad Litem” (GAL) is someone who the judge appoints to investigate the facts of the case. A “Standby Guardian” is appointed when a parent or guardian names the person who they want to care for the children if the parent dies or becomes permanently unable to care for the children. A “Short-Term Guardian” is a someone appointed by a parent or guardian to care for their child for 365 days or less. To become a child’s guardian you must:Be at least 18 years oldBe a U.S. residentBe of “sound mind,” meaning logical or stableNot be found “disabled” by the courtNot have a felony conviction that involved harm or threat to a childClick on words that appear like ‘this’ to learn what these words mean. What types of guardianship are there? Illinois law allows a guardian to be appointed for different reasons. You should understand each type of guardianship in order to determine which one is best for you. Permanent Legal Guardian: The guardian is responsible to feed, clothe, house and educate the child. The guardian can enroll the child in school, request special education services, take the child to the doctor, get medical care, and get any public benefits the child may be entitled to. To become guardian of the person, you must file court papers and the judge must approve the guardianship.Guardian ad Litem: A guardian ad litem (GAL) is someone who the judge appoints to investigate the facts of the case. A GAL can recommend what would be in the child’s best interests. The GAL tells the judge who should be given the responsibility for the care of the child. The judge considers the GAL’s opinion in making the final decision. Standby Guardianship: A parent or guardian can name the person who they want to become the standby guardian of their minor children in the event that the parent should die or becomes permanently unable to care for the children. This is often helpful for a parent or caretaker who has a serious or terminal illness or is elderly. To become a standby guardian, you must file court papers and the judge must approve the guardianship. Short-Term Guardianship: A parent or guardian may appoint a short-term guardian in writing to care for their child for 365 days or less. Court approval is not necessary. In cases where a court has already appointed a guardian of the person of a minor, that guardian may appoint a short-term guardian. Both parents must consent to the appointment of a short-term guardian. See "Asking for a Short-Term Guardianship for My Child" in the "Related Articles" section for more information. What does it mean to become a child's legal guardian? As a general rule, only a child's parents have the legal right to make decisions concerning the care of their child. A legal guardian has the same responsibilities as a child's natural parent. Legal guardianship of a minor is the process for giving that legal authority to someone other than the child's parents. This is usually done only in cases where the child is not in the care of a parent because the parent is unable to care for the child. Once someone becomes a guardian, they cannot give up that responsibility unless the judge rules that:A parent is again able to care for the child,Someone else is willing to become a successor guardian, or The child turns 18.Must I become the legal guardian to enroll a child in school? No. An adult does not have to get a court order of guardianship to enroll a child in school. For more information on enrolling a child in school see the "Related Articles" section.Who can become a child's guardian? To become a child's guardian you must:Be at least 18 years oldBe a U.S. residentBe of "sound mind," meaning logical or stableNot be found "disabled" by the courtNot have a felony conviction that involved harm or threat to a childIf a proposed guardian has a felony conviction, the judge will consider whether appointing the person as the child's guardian is in the child's best interest. How does someone become a child's legal guardian? If the parents are unable to care for the child, you must file a petition in court to be the child's guardian. The petition will identify the child, the child's parents and siblings, the proposed guardian, the child's financial circumstances, and the reasons why a guardianship is needed. The court only has the ability to appoint a guardian if the parent(s):Is unwilling or unable to make day to day decisions concerning the child even though the parent still has parental rights,Was notified of the hearing but does not show up to the hearing,Has voluntarily given up physical custody of the child, or Consents to the appointment of a guardian.Who needs to be notified that a Petition for Guardianship has been filed? You must send a notice of the court hearing to:The child's parentsAdult siblingsThe child, if the child is over 14Anyone else who has had legal or informal custody of the childWhat happens at the court date for a Petition for Guardianship? At the court hearing, the judge decides whether the guardianship is in the child's best interests. The law assumes that the child is best placed with a parent, so you will have to prove otherwise if a parent objects to the guardianship. If the parent objects to the guardianship you will have to prove that guardianship is in the child's best interest. If the parent or another party appears to dispute the guardianship, the court could send the parties to mediation, appoint a guardian ad litem, or set the case for a trial. How can I become a child's Standby Guardian? If the parents are unable to care for the child, you must file a petition in court to be the child's standby guardian. The petition will identify the child, the child's parents and siblings, the proposed standby guardian, the child's financial circumstances, and the reasons why a standby guardian is needed. The person filing the petition must send a notice of the court hearing to:the child's parentsthe child's adult sibilingsthe child if the child is over 14 years oldAt the court hearing, the judge decides whether the standby guardianship is in the child's best interests. The judge will not appoint a standby guardian if the child has a parent who is able and willing to care for the child and who objects to the appointment of a standby guardian. If the judge decides that a standby guardian is in the child's best interest, the judge may enter an order and appoint a standby guardian.What can I do as a Standby Guardian? The standby guardian appointed by the judge does not have any authority to act as the child's guardian until:The child's parent, parents, or previous legal guardian has died; orThe child's parent, parents, or previous legal guardian are unable to provide for the day-to-day care of the child.A parent may admit that he or she is unable to care for the child, or the admission may be submitted by the parent's doctor.A standby guardian can remain in place for 365 days.What does a Guardian ad Litem or GAL do? The judge may appoint a guardian ad litem or "GAL" to investigate the facts of the case and advise the court. The GAL gives the court their opinion about what is in the child's best interests and who should have the responsibility to care for the child. The judge considers the GAL's opinion in making the final decision on guardianship. Does it cost money to file my court forms? The Clerk charges a fee to file court papers. The filing fees vary from county to county. Call your county's Circuit Clerk to find out the cost for filing a petition for guardianship, and serving the guardianship papers. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' website. If you cannot afford these fees, you may be allowed to file for free. See the "Related Articles" section for more information.How can I become a Short-Term Guardian? You do not need to go to court to become a short-term guardian. All you need is an appointment form. A short-term guardianship must be in writing, and be witnessed by at least two people over the age of 18. Neither witness can be the person trying to be the short-term guardian.The person appointed as the guardian must sign the form. Also, if only one parent is appointing the short-term guardian, then the other parent must sign the document to give their consent. The consent of the other parent is not needed when:The other parent is dead;You do not know where he is;He is unable or unwilling to care for the children, or He is an unmarried father whose paternity has not been established by court order.The short-term guardianship can begin as soon as the form is signed, or it can begin at a future date or when something speciic happens (like the parent's admission into a hospital). The guardianship can last no longer than 365 days, and can specify that it will terminate upon a specific date or event. The parent can terminate the short-term guardianship at any time.For more information, please see the Related Articles tab.Prepare Your Forms You can prepare most of the forms that you need with the Minor Guardianship Interview, which you can find in the "Forms/Letters" section. The forms do not print in the correct order, so you will need to sort through them and find the correct ones for each step based on their titles.After you have printed the forms, make copies of all of them. At a minimum, make at least 2 additional copies of these:Petition for Guardian of MinorExhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of Minor (if you need to notify any of the child's relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)Make at least 1 additional copy of all the other forms you prepared using the interview.Get Extra Help If You Need It If you have questions about filing for the guardianship of a minor of Cook County, go to the Cook County Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors in Suite 1020 of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 69 West Washington (across the street from the Daley Center Plaza).If you need help at any point in the process, please talk to a lawyer. Visit the "Find Legal Help" tab to find legal aid organizations in your area.File Your Case in Court First, go to Room 1202 of the Daley Center. Find the line marked “Probate Division: Cashier.” Give the clerk:The original and 2 copies of the Petition for Guardianship of MinorExhibit A (if you need to notify any of the child’s relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)If you have a fee waiver, a copy of the stamped fee waiver order so that you are not charged the feesThe clerk will stamp your case number on the petitions. The clerk should stamp both the original and the copies of the petition and give one stamped copy back to you. If you were not granted a fee waiver, you will need to pay your filing fees at this time.Write your case number on every form that has a blank for it;Go to Courtroom 1806. Give the clerk the original and 1 copy of your Proposed Appointed Guardian Checklist; The clerk should stamp both the original and the copy of the Checklist and give the stamped copy back to you. Also, the clerk may ask you to fill out an additional form for the court;The clerk will then assign you a court date, if you have not been assigned one already. The court date will likely be over a month away;You will need an original Birth and/or Death Certificate for your court date. If you have an Order for a Birth or Death Certificate, present this order to the Clerk in Courtroom 1806 and she will have the judge enter the order. The clerk will then give you a copy of the signed order. Take the order and go back to Room 1202 to the line marked "Probate Division: Certified." The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier;If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that needs to be certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. You must get the court order certified the same day that you receive it.Notify the Child's Adult Relatives You must send a notice of the court hearing to:The child's parentsAdult siblingsThe child, if the child is over 14Anyone else who has had legal or informal custody of the childThe way you give notice depends on whether you know where the relative lives.Notice by Certified Mail:If you know the relative's address, then you serve them by mailing the Notice. You should already have filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview. Put the following papers in an envelope and take them to your local post office:Original Notice of Motion (keep a copy)Copy of the Petition (not the one stamped "original")Copy of Exhibit A (staple this to the petition)Address the envelope to the child's relative. Tell the postal clerk that you want to send this "Certified Mail--Return Receipt Requested." Sign the card in front of the postal clerk.In about two or three weeks, the post office should bring you either the green card receipt by itself or the green card receipt attached to the undelivered letter. Take the receipt to court on your court date assigned to you.If you do not get the green card receipt before your court date, call the post office where you mailed it and ask what happened. You should also appear in court on your court date and let the judge know that you have not received the receipt. The judge will likely continue the case.Notice by Publication:If you do not know the address of a relative, you have to publish notice of the case. You should have already filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview in the "Forms/Letters" section. Go to the line marked "Legal Publications" in Room 1202 of the Daley Center and give them the following:Affidavit for Service by Publication Copy of the Petition for Guardian of Minor Exhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of MinorIf you have a fee waiver, give a copy to the clerk with the Order for Service by Publication. If you don't have a waiver, then you will have to pay $158.Go to Your Court Date Come to the court early with your paperwork and a valid driver's license or state identification card. Dress as you would for an important business appointment. The child must come, too, if they are at least 14 years old.Go to Courtroom 1806 and check in with the clerk. Give the clerk these forms and documents:Order for Guardian of Minor (the original and 1 copy - there must be one order for each child)The child's birth certificate (the original and 1 copy)Any death certificates (the original and 1 copy)Appearance and Consent for Letters Appointing Guardian (from any relatives agreeing to the guardianship)Return receipt of certified mail noticesWait for your case to be called. When your case is called, step to the bench and tell the judge you want to be the child’s guardian. Then answer the judge's questions. If the minor is 14 or older, they should step to the bench with you. The judge will ask minors 14 and older if they agree to the guardianship.When you are finished before the judge, wait until the clerk gives you a court order.Get a Certified Copy of the Order If the judge appoints you guardian of the child, you will need to get a certified copy of the order. Take the order to Room 1202 and go to the line marked "Probate Division: Certified." The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier. If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that you need certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. Do not leave the building until you have done this.The court will then mail you "Letters of Office" which prove that you have legal guardianship of the minor within a few weeks of your court date.Prepare Your Forms You can prepare most of the forms that you need with the Minor Guardianship Interview, which you can find in the "Forms/Letters" section. The forms do not print in the correct order, so you will need to sort through them and find the correct ones for each step based on their titles.After you have printed the forms, make copies of all of them. At a minimum, make at least 2 additional copies of these:Petition for Guardian of MinorExhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of Minor (if you need to notify any of the child's relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)Make at least 1 additional copy of all the other forms you prepared using the interview.Get Extra Help If You Need It If you have questions about filing for the guardianship of a minor of Cook County, go to the Cook County Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors in Suite 1020 of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 69 West Washington (across the street from the Daley Center Plaza).If you need help at any point in the process, please talk to a lawyer. Visit the "Find Legal Help" tab to find legal aid organizations in your area.File Your Case in Court In Cook County, you can file for guardianship of a minor at the Probate Division in the Daley center or at the District 5 courthouse in Bridgeview. Go to whichever location is more convenient. The Bridgeview Courthouse is at 10220 South 76th Avenue, Bridgeview, IL 60455. If you are filing at the Bridgeview Courthouse, fill out your forms and bring them to the clerk in the probate division. She will tell you where to go next, and when your court date is.The Probate Division at the Daley Center is in Room 1202 at 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602. If you are filing at the Daley Center, give the clerk:The original and 2 copies of the Petition for Guardianship of MinorExhibit A (if you need to notify any of the child’s relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)If you have a fee waiver, a copy of the stamped fee waiver order so that you are not charged the feesThe clerk will stamp your case number on the petitions. The clerk should stamp both the original and the copies of the petition and give one stamped copy back to you. If you were not granted a fee waiver, you will need to pay your filing fees at this time.Then write your case number on every form that has a blank for it;Next, go to Courtroom 1806. Give the clerk the original and 1 copy of your Proposed Appointed Guardian Checklist; The clerk should stamp both the original and the copy of the Checklist and give the stamped copy back to you. Also, the clerk may ask you to fill out an additional form for the court;The clerk will then assign you a court date, if you have not been assigned one already. The court date will likely be over a month away;Finally, you will need an original Birth and/or Death Certificate for your court date. If you have an Order for a Birth or Death Certificate, present this order to the Clerk in Courtroom 1806 and she will have the judge enter the order. The clerk will then give you a copy of the signed order. Take the order and go back to the clerk in Room 1202 and go to the line marked "Probate Division: Certified." The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier;If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that needs to be certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. You must get the court order certified the same day that you receive it.Notify the Child's Adult Relatives You must send a notice of the court hearing to:The child's parentsAdult siblingsThe child, if the child is over 14Anyone else who has had legal or informal custody of the childThe way you give notice depends on whether you know where the relative lives.Notice by Certified Mail:If you know the relative's address, then you serve them by mailing the Notice. You should already have filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview. Put the following papers in an envelope and take them to your local post office:Original Notice of Motion (keep a copy)Copy of the Petition (not the one stamped "original")Copy of Exhibit A (staple this to the petition)Address the envelope to the child's relative. Tell the postal clerk that you want to send this "Certified Mail--Return Receipt Requested." Sign the card in front of the postal clerk.In about two or three weeks, the post office should bring you either the green card receipt by itself or the green card receipt attached to the undelivered letter. Take the receipt to court on your court date assigned to you.If you do not get the green card receipt before your court date, call the post office where you mailed it and ask what happened. You should also appear in court on your court date and let the judge know that you have not received the receipt. The judge will likely continue the case.Notice by Publication:If you do not know the address of a relative, you have to publish notice of the case. You should have already filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview in the "Forms/Letters" section. If you are filing at the Daley center, go to the line marked "Legal Publications" in Room 1202 of the Daley Center and give them the following:Affidavit for Service by Publication Copy of the Petition for Guardian of Minor Exhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of MinorIf you have a fee waiver, give a copy to the clerk with the Order for Service by Publication. If you don't have a waiver, then you will have to pay $158.Go to Your Court Date Come to the court early with your paperwork and a valid driver's license or state identification card. Dress as you would for an important business appointment. The child must come, too, if they are 14 or older.Go to your assigned courtroom and check in with the clerk. Give the clerk these forms and documents:Order for Guardian of Minor (the original and 1 copy - there must be one order for each child)The child's birth certificate (the original and 1 copy)Any death certificates (the original and 1 copy)Appearance and Consent for Letters Appointing Guardian (from any relatives agreeing to the guardianship)Return receipt of certified mail noticesWait for your case to be called. When your case is called, step to the bench and tell the judge you want to be the child’s guardian. Then answer the judge's questions. If the minor is at least 14 years old, they should step to the bench with you. The judge will ask minors 14 and older if they agree to the guardianship.When you are finished speaking with the judge, wait until the clerk gives you a court order.Get a Certified Copy of the Order If the judge appoints you guardian of the child, you will need to get a certified copy of the order. Take the order back to the clerk you filed everything with. The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier. If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order you need certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. Do not leave the building until you have done this.The court will then mail you "Letters of Office" which prove that you have legal guardianship of the minor within a few weeks of your court date.Prepare Your Forms You can prepare most of the forms that you need with the Minor Guardianship Interview, which you can find in the "Forms/Letters" section. The forms do not print in the correct order, so you will need to sort through them and find the correct ones for each step based on their titles.After you have printed the forms, make copies of all of them. At a minimum, make at least 2 additional copies of these:Petition for Guardian of MinorExhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of Minor (if you need to notify any of the child's relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)Make at least 1 additional copy of all the other forms you prepared using the interview.Get Extra Help If You Need It If you have questions about filing for the guardianship of a minor of Cook County, go to the Cook County Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors in Suite 1020 of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 69 West Washington (across the street from the Daley Center Plaza).If you need help at any point in the process, please talk to a lawyer. Visit the "Find Legal Help" tab to find legal aid organizations in your area.File Your Case in Court In Cook County, you can file for guardianship of a minor at the Probate Division in the Daley center or at the District 5 courthouse in Bridgeview. Go to whichever location is more convenient. The Bridgeview Courthouse is at 10220 South 76th Avenue, Bridgeview, IL 60455. If you are filing at the Bridgeview Courthouse, fill out your forms and bring them to the clerk in the probate division. She will tell you where to go next, and when your court date is.The Probate Division at the Daley Center is in Room 1202 at 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602. If you are filing at the Daley Center, give the clerk:The original and 2 copies of the Petition for Guardianship of Minor Exhibit A (if you need to notify any of the child’s relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)If you have a fee waiver, a copy of the stamped fee waiver order so that you are not charged the feesThe clerk will stamp your case number on the petitions. The clerk should stamp both the original and the copies of the petition and give one stamped copy back to you. If you were not granted a fee waiver, you will need to pay your filing fees at this time.Then write your case number on every form that has a blank for it;Next, go to Courtroom 1806. Give the clerk the original and 1 copy of your Proposed Appointed Guardian Checklist; The clerk should stamp both the original and the copy of the Checklist and give the stamped copy back to you. Also, the clerk may ask you to fill out an additional form for the court;The clerk will then assign you a court date, if you have not been assigned one already. The court date will likely be over a month away;Finally, you will need an original Birth and/or Death Certificate for your court date. If you have an Order for a Birth or Death Certificate, present this order to the Clerk in Courtroom 1806 and she will have the judge enter the order. The clerk will then give you a copy of the signed order. Take the order and go back to Room 1202 to the line marked "Probate Division: Certified." The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier;If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that needs to be certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. You must get the court order certified the same day that you receive it.Notify the Child's Adult Relatives You must send a notice of the court hearing to:The child's parentsAdult siblingsThe child, if the child is over 14Anyone else who has had legal or informal custody of the childThe way you give notice depends on whether you know where the relative lives.Notice by Certified Mail:If you know the relative's address, then you serve them by mailing the Notice. You should already have filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview. Put the following papers in an envelope and take them to your local post office:Original Notice of Motion (keep a copy)Copy of the Petition (not the one stamped "original")Copy of Exhibit A(staple this to the petition)Address the envelope to the child's relative. Tell the postal clerk that you want to send this "Certified Mail--Return Receipt Requested." Sign the card in front of the postal clerk.In about two or three weeks, the post office should bring you either the green card receipt by itself or the green card receipt attached to the undelivered letter. Take the receipt to court on your court date assigned to you.If you do not get the green card receipt before your court date, call the post office where you mailed it and ask what happened. You should also appear in court on your court date and let the judge know that you have not received the receipt. The judge will likely continue the case.Notice by Publication:If you do not know the address of a relative, you have to publish notice of the case. You should have already filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview in the "Forms/Letters" section. If you are filing at the Daley center, go to the line marked "Legal Publications" in Room 1202 of the Daley Center and give them the following:Affidavit for Service by PublicationCopy of the Petition for Guardian of Minor Exhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of MinorIf you have a fee waiver, give a copy to the clerk with the Order for Service by Publication. If you don't have a waiver, then you will have to pay $158.Go to Your Court Date Come to the court early with your paperwork and a valid driver's license or state identification card. Dress as you would for an important business appointment. The child must come, too, if they are 14 or older.Go to your assigned courtroom and check in with the clerk. Give the clerk these forms and documents:Order for Guardian of Minor (the original and 1 copy - there must be one order for each child)The child's birth certificate (the original and 1 copy)Any death certificates (the original and 1 copy)Appearance and Consent for Letters Appointing Guardian (from any relatives agreeing to the guardianship)Return receipt of certified mail noticesWait for your case to be called. When your case is called, step to the bench and tell the judge you want to be the child’s guardian. Then answer the judge's questions. If the minor is 14 or older, they should step to the bench with you. The judge will ask minors 14 and older if they agree to the guardianship.When you are finished speaking with the judge, wait until the clerk gives you a court order.Get a Certified Copy of the Order If the judge appoints you guardian of the child, you will need to get a certified copy of the order. Take the order back to the clerk you filed everything with. The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier. If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that needs to be certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. Do not leave the building until you have done this.The court will then mail you "Letters of Office" which prove that you have legal guardianship of the minor within a few weeks of your court date.Prepare Your Forms You can prepare most of the forms that you need with the Minor Guardianship Interview, which you can find in the "Forms/Letters" section. The forms do not print in the correct order, so you will need to sort through them and find the correct ones for each step based on their titles.After you have printed the forms, make copies of all of them. At a minimum, make at least 2 additional copies of these:Petition for Guardian of MinorExhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of Minor (if you need to notify any of the child's relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)Make at least 1 additional copy of all the other forms you prepared using the interview.Get Extra Help If You Need It If you have questions about filing for the guardianship of a minor of Cook County, go to the Cook County Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors in Suite 1020 of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 69 West Washington (across the street from the Daley Center Plaza).If you need help at any point in the process, please talk to a lawyer. Visit the "Find Legal Help" tab to find legal aid organizations in your area.File Your Case in Court In Cook County, you can file for guardianship of a minor at the Probate Division in the Daley center or at the District 5 courthouse in Bridgeview. Go to whichever location is more convenient. The Bridgeview Courthouse is at 10220 South 76th Avenue, Bridgeview, IL 60455. If you are filing at the Bridgeview Courthouse, fill out your forms and bring them to the clerk in the probate division. She will tell you where to go next, and when your court date is.The Probate Division at the Daley Center is in Room 1202 at 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, IL 60602. If you are filing at the Daley Center, give the clerk:The original and 2 copies of the Petition for Guardianship of MinorExhibit A (if you need to notify any of the child’s relatives that you are petitioning for guardianship)If you have a fee waiver, a copy of the stamped fee waiver order so that you are not charged the feesThe clerk will stamp your case number on the petitions. The clerk should stamp both the original and the copies of the petition and give one stamped copy back to you. If you were not granted a fee waiver, you will need to pay your filing fees at this time.Then write your case number on every form that has a blank for it;Next, go to Courtroom 1806. Give the clerk the original and 1 copy of your Proposed Appointed Guardian Checklist; The clerk should stamp both the original and the copy of the Checklist and give the stamped copy back to you. Also, the clerk may ask you to fill out an additional form for the court;The clerk will then assign you a court date, if you have not been assigned one already. The court date will likely be over a month away;Finally, you will need an original Birth and/or Death Certificate for your court date. If you have an Order for a Birth or Death Certificate, present this order to the Clerk in Courtroom 1806 and she will have the judge enter the order. The clerk will then give you a copy of the signed order. Take the order and go back to Room 1202 to the line marked "Probate Division: Certified." The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier;If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that needs to be certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. You must get the court order certified the same day that you receive it.Notify the Child's Adult Relatives You must notify all of the child's adult relatives, and anyone who has had legal or informal custody of the child, that you are seeking guardianship of the child (everyone you listed in Exhibit A). The way you give notice depends on whether you know where the relative lives.Notice by Certified Mail:If you know the relative's address, then you serve them by mailing the Notice. You should already have filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview. Put the following papers in an envelope and take them to your local post office:Original Notice of Motion (keep a copy)Copy of the Petition (not the one stamped "original")Copy of Exhibit A (staple this to the petition)Address the envelope to the child's relative. Tell the postal clerk that you want to send this "Certified Mail--Return Receipt Requested." Sign the card in front of the postal clerk.In about two or three weeks, the post office should bring you either the green card receipt by itself or the green card receipt attached to the undelivered letter. Take the receipt to court on your court date assigned to you.If you do not get the green card receipt before your court date, call the post office where you mailed it and ask what happened. You should also appear in court on your court date and let the judge know that you have not received the receipt. The judge will likely continue the case.Notice by Publication:If you do not know the address of a relative, you have to publish notice of the case. You should have already filled out a Notice of Motion for each relative using the interview in the "Forms/Letters" section. If you are filing at the Daley center, go to the line marked "Legal Publications" in Room 1202 of the Daley Center and give them the following:Affidavit for Service by Publication Copy of the Petition for Guardian of Minor Exhibit A to Petition for Guardianship of Minor If you have a fee waiver, give a copy to the clerk with the Order for Service by Publication. If you don't have a waiver, then you will have to pay $158.Go to Your Court Date Come to the court early with your paperwork and a valid driver's license or state identification card. Dress as you would for an important business appointment. The child must come, too, if they are 14 or older.Go to your assigned courtroom and check in with the clerk. Give the clerk these forms and documents:Order for Guardian of Minor (the original and 1 copy - there must be one order for each child)The child's birth certificate (the original and 1 copy)Any death certificates (the original and 1 copy)Appearance and Consent for Letters Appointing Guardian (from any relatives agreeing to the guardianship)Return receipt of certified mail noticesWait for your case to be called. When your case is called, step to the bench and tell the judge you want to be the child’s guardian. Then answer the judge's questions. If the minor is 14 or older, they should step to the bench with you. The judge will ask minors 14 and older if they agree to the guardianship.When you are finished before the judge, wait until the clerk gives you a court order.Get a Certified Copy of the Order If the judge appoints you guardian of the child, you will need to get a certified copy of the order. Take the order back to the clerk you filed everything with. The clerk will certify the order and then direct you to the cashier. If you do not have a fee waiver, this will cost you $4 per order that needs to be certified. If you have the fee waiver, you will need to present your signed and stamped fee waiver order to the clerk. Do not leave the building until you have done this.The court will then mail you "Letters of Office" which prove that you have legal guardianship of the minor within a few weeks of your court date.Prepare Your Forms Most of the forms that you need can be found in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide. You will need the original plus 2 copies of some of the forms below, depending on your situation.At a minimum you will need:• Petition for Guardianship of Minor• Minor Guardianship Order• Minor Guardianship Oath of Office• Minor Guardianship Bond• Entry of Appearance for Mother• Entry of Appearance for FatherIn addition, you may need a Motion for Waiver of Notice if you do not know the identity or location of the child's parents or the child's parents have had no contact or provided support for the child.If you are asking the court to waive your filing fees, you will need an Affidavit to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person.If the minor is over 14, you will need to file a Minor's Entry of Appearance.File Your Case in Court If you are asking for a fee waiver, take the completed Application to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person, along with your copies, to the court clerk. The clerk will present it to the judge. If the judge signs the order, you do not have to pay the filing fees to file for guardianship.Give the court clerk the original and 2 copies of the Petition for Guardian of Minor. The clerk should stamp both the original and the copies of the petition and give a stamped copy back to you. The clerk should assign you a case number at this time.The clerk will then assign you a court date, if you have not been assigned one already. The court date will be approximately 3 to 4 weeks after the date you filed your petition with the clerk.Pay the Filing Fee If your petition for the fee waiver was granted, you will need to give the clerk a copy of the stamped order so that you are not charged the fees.If you did not file for a fee waiver, or your petition for the fee waiver was not granted, you will need to pay the clerk for filing fees and a notice fee.Notify the Child's Parents You must notify the child's parents, and anyone who has had legal or informal custody of the child, that you are seeking guardianship of the child. Try to track down the child's parents and get each of them to sign an Entry of Appearance agreeing to the guardianship. Any parent that does not sign an Entry of Appearance must be served with a Notice of Motion by the Clerk's office. There is a filing fee for each Notice that must be served.If you do not know the identity or location of the child's parents or the child's parents have had no contact or provided support for the child, you can try to be excused from having to serve them with notice by filing a Motion for Waiver of Notice with the clerk.Go to Your Court Date Come to the court early with your paperwork and a valid driver's license or state identification card. Dress as you would for an important business appointment. The child must come too if he or she is 14 or older.Go to courtroom assigned to you by the clerk and check in with the clerk. Give the clerk the original and 1 copy of the following forms and documents:• Minor Guardianship Order• Minor Guardianship Oath of Office• Minor Guardianship Bond• Entry of Appearance for Mother (if signed)• Entry of Appearance for Father (if signed)• Minor's Entry of Appearance (if the minor is over 14)• The child's birth certificate• Any death certificatesWait for your case to be called. When your case is called, step to the bench and tell the judge you want to be guardian over the child. Then answer the judge's questions. If the minor is 14 or older, he or she should step to the bench with you. When you are finished speaking with the judge, wait until the clerk gives you a court order.Get a Certified Copy of the Order If you have been appointed guardian, the judge should sign the Order for Guardian. The judge or clerk should then give you certified copies of the Order, the Oath of Office and the Bond documents. This will cost a small fee. The court will then send you the documentation to prove that you have legal guardianship of the minor within a few weeks of your court date.Prepare Your Forms To be appointed guardian, you need to file the following forms:Petition for Guardianship of MinorOrder for Guardian of MinorSummons for Appointment of Guardian- (1 for each relative you need to notify)Affidavit for Service by Publication (if you do not know the location of the child's relative)Oath and Bond of Guardian with No Surety- (File this form if there is no estate for the minor. If the minor has an estate, than you need to file the "Oath and Bond of Guardian with Surety.")For many counties, these forms are in the "Forms/Letters" section of this Guide. If not, you can ask for them at your local clerk's office. You should make 3 copies of each of the original forms. File Your Case in Court Give the court clerk the original and 2 copies of the Petition for Guardian of Minor. The clerk should stamp both the original and the copies of the petition and give a stamped copy back to you.The clerk should assign you a case number at this time.Also, the clerk will assign you a court date, if you have not been assigned one already. Make sure the date is at least 2 weeks in advance to make sure you have time to notify the parents and get the return receipt back.Pay the Filing Fee If you cannot pay the filing fees, you can ask the court for a fee waiver, which lets you file for free. For more information on how to do this, see" Filing Court Papers for Free" in the "Related Articles" section of this Guide.If the court allows you to file for free, you will need to give the clerk a copy of the stamped order from the judge so that you are not charged to file.If you did not file for a fee waiver, or the court does not grant your fee waiver, you will need to pay the clerk the necessary filing fees.Notify the Child's Adult Relatives You must send a notice of the court hearing to:The child's parentsAdult siblingsThe child, if the child is over 14Anyone else who has had legal or informal custody of the childThe way you give notice depends on whether you know where the relative lives.Notice by Certified MailIf you know the relative's address, then you serve them by mailing the Notice. You should fill out a "Notice of Motion" for each relative. Put the following papers in an envelope and take them to your local post office:Original Summons for Appointment of Guardian (keep a copy)Copy of the petition (not the one stamped "original")Address the envelope to the child's relative. Tell the postal clerk that you want to send this "Certified Mail--Return Receipt Requested." Sign the card in front of the postal clerk.In about a week, the post office should bring you either the green card receipt by itself or the green card receipt attached to the undelivered letter. Take the receipt to court on your assigned court date.If you do not get the green card receipt before your court date, call the post office where you mailed it and ask what happened. You should also appear in court on your court date and let the judge know that you have not received the receipt. The judge will likely continue the case.Notice by PublicationIf you do not know the person's relative’s last known address, you may be able to publish your notice in the newspaper. Ask the clerk where you can find the "Legal Publications" department of the court. Give the clerk in the Legal Publications department:Your "Affidavit for Service by Publication" A copy of the "Petition for Guardian of Minor" A copy of your fee waiver, if you got one. If you don't have a fee waiver, then you will have to pay a fee to serve notice by publication.Go to Your Court Date Come to the court early with your paperwork and a valid driver's license or state identification card. Dress as you would for an important business appointment. The child must come too if they are 14 or older. You should bring 3 copies of your petition packet. Go to the courtroom assigned to you by the clerk and check in with the clerk. If the child 14 or over, the child will have to be served. Tell the clerk that the child must be served and the clerk will have a probation officer serve the child. Give the clerk these forms and documents:Order for Guardian of Minor (the original and 1 copy)Oath and Bond of Guardian of Minor (the original and 1 copy)The child's birth certificate (the original and 1 copy)Any death certificates (the original and 1 copy)Appearance and Consent for Letters Appointing Guardian (from any relatives agreeing to the guardianship)Return receipt of certified mail noticesWait for your case to be called. When your case is called, step to the bench and tell the judge you want to be the child’s guardian. Then answer the judge's questions. If the minor is 14 or older, they should step to the bench with you. The judge will ask minors 14 and older if they agree to the guardianship.The judge will usually appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to investigate if appointing a guardian is in the best interests of the child. You will have to pay the GAL unless your court costs are waived. If the judge appoints a GAL, you will have to come back to court for the GAL to tell the court their findings. The judge will then make a decision and sign your order if it's granted.If the judge does not appoint a GAL, the judge will make a decision and sign the order if the guardianship is approved. Get a Certified Copy of the Order If you are appointed guardian, you should get a certified copy of the "Order for Guardian of Minor." This will cost a small fee. The court will then send you "Letters of Office" which prove that you have legal guardianship of the minor within a few weeks of your court date.

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