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How can I get guardianship of my grandchild without having a lawyer?

Updated April 17, 2017

Grandparents often take over guardianship of their grandchildren to legally obtain medical care for the child or remove him from a hard home life. Guardianship is granted through the courts when certain circumstances are proven to be present in the child's life. Although attorney involvement is recommended, it is not necessary to gain guardianship. You can appeal to the courts when you cannot afford an attorney.

Gather evidence of any maltreatment or neglect imposed upon your grandchild. Pictures, witness statements and child welfare records are ideal for establishing just cause. You may also ask child welfare services to help you when an open case is in effect against the parents.

Contact the child's parents to discuss voluntarily signing over custody of the child to you. In some cases, parents realise the implications certain circumstances have on their children and agree to give up custody for the child's benefit. Grandparents are more trusted when custody transfer is agreed upon with the parents.

File a motion to obtain guardianship with your local courts. This is done when the parents refuse to give up custody of your grandchild. List all your information, cause for the motion, the child's information and information pertaining to the parents. This includes addresses, full names and date of birth.

Serve your grandchild's parents with a copy of the motion through a process server or sheriff's officer. The document instructs the parents about any planned court hearing and the process required to answer the summons.

Visit your local law library or contact a family law attorney to find out what your state law considers extraordinary circumstances that would win you guardianship. Although you will not be using an attorney, her advice could prove valuable to winning your case.

Gather your evidence and any witnesses to take to court with you. You will be given the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses to the case as well as your grandchild's parents. Speak clearly and loudly so that the defendant's attorney, the judge and any other court attendees can hear the evidence presented.

Exercise respect as the verdict is handed down. If the judge finds in your favour, you will be given a date and time to take physical custody of your grandchild or take over his affairs. If you are not given guardianship, you have the right to appeal the decision, usually within 30 to 45 days. Place copies of all judgements in a safe place for future reference.

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About the Author

Sharin Griffin has been a freelance writer since 2009, specializing in health-related articles. She has worked in the health-care industry as a certified nursing assistant and medical technician. Griffin's medical expertise encompasses bariatrics and geriatric care, with an emphasis on general medicine. She is completing an associate degree in health-care administration from Axia University.