October 20, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Establishing Child Guardianship in Oklahoma
The right to raise one's own child is considered fundamental in the U.S., and authorities will not interfere with the parent-child relationship without a compelling reason. In some cases, parents are unwilling or unable to care for their children and other people step in to help. Oklahoma law recognizes the authority of a person besides a child's parents to raise a child through a guardianship.
What Is a Guardianship?
Under Oklahoma law, the court may appoint a child a guardian "when it appears necessary or convenient." The judge determines the need on a case-by-case basis. The court usually grants the guardian control over the child, called a ward, and the child's property. However, in some cases the court appoints a guardian over only one aspect of a child's life. A guardian can make decisions about the child's education, medical care, religious training, living arrangements and all other matters related to the child's well-being. The guardian is supposed to protect the child and the child's property.
In many ways, being appointed a guardian is similar to having custody of a child. However, guardians need not live with their wards. In some cases, the court appoints guardians for children who live in abusive homes or are in foster care.
Who Qualifies to Be a Guardian?
Anyone over 18 years old can petition to be a child's guardian, as long as the petitioner has a sincere interest in the child's welfare. The guardian does not have to be related to the child. When choosing a guardian for a child, the court gives priority to the one who petitions for guardianship.
If a child is under 14 years old, the court has sole discretion in choosing the guardian. A child 14 years old or older may request a person to be his or her guardian, but the court must approve the person has any authority as guardian.
How Is Guardianship Established?
A person seeking to become a child's guardian must complete a "verified petition" on the child's behalf, stating that the child is in danger or has property in need of protection. The petition informs the court of where and with whom the child has been living, the parents' circumstances and why the guardianship is necessary.
After the petition is filed, the court orders a Home Study to check the background of the petitioner and determine whether the petitioner is fit to be a guardian. The court may waive the Home Study if it is a financial hardship for the petitioner and the court does not think it is necessary.
Those seeking to become guardians should seek the assistance of qualified guardianship attorneys familiar with the guardianship process. A lawyer can ensure that all of the formalities are completed properly and make the process go more smoothly.
Article provided by Branch & Hurtt Law Firm, P.C.
Visit us at http://www.branchhurttlaw.com---
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