Torree J. Breen, Grandparenting Time, Guardianships/Conservatorships, Divorce and Family Law

Obtaining Guardianship of your Grandchildren

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Do you have a child addicted to drugs and you want to try to obtain custody of their minor child in Michigan?

In Michigan, you may seek guardianship of a minor child if there is no parent available to make the day-to-day decisions of the child in certain circumstances.  A guardian is defined as a person who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or a legally incapacitated individual under a parental or spousal nomination or a court appointment and includes a limited guardian.  A typical situation in where a minor child might become subject of a guardianship is when the minor’s parents are unable to provide the necessary day-to-day care of the child because of death or incarceration.

What Is a Limited Guardianship?

It is easier for a grandparent and/or other responsible adult to obtain the guardianship necessary for the day-to-day care of the minor child if the custodial parent files a petition for a “limited guardianship” approving of the appointment of the limited guardian.  In filing a petition for the appointment of a limited guardianship to appoint a person to be the limited guardian of their child, the parent and/or the parents of the minor child must consent to the appointment of the limited guardian to facilitate the day-to-day care of the minor child and must facilitate a plan to retain their parental rights to the child/children.

To file for a limited guardianship, the parent/parents must file a petition accompanied by a placement plan which entails the plan regarding parental visitation and it must include any and all probation/rehabilitation plans to ensure proper day-to-day care of the minor child after the incarceration of the parent, including residential plans and/or the completion of rehabilitation programs. The plan can be modified by the court of the parties involved. Until there is compliance with the plan, the parent/parents cannot retain rights to their minor child/children.

What Is The Parents’ Role?

In filing the petition, the parent/parents must consent to the suspension of their parenting rights until the probation/rehabilitation plan has been completed.  This is extremely helpful in circumstances involving parents with alcohol and/or drug addictions since the return of the parental rights may be limited to when the parent/parents actually comply with the rehabilitation program.  This not only serves the best interest of the minor child, but will promote the health of the parents to a better lifestyle.

Limited guardianships serve to protect the child/children and allow the grandparents to step in and care for their grandchild/children.  It should be utilized to create a quick solution to allow the child/children to continue their established lifestyle with the least amount of disruption.