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What if you disagree with the guardian named for a minor child?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate |

If you disagree with who has been appointed guardian of a minor child named in that child’s parent’s will, there are several steps you can take to address your concerns. Contesting a guardianship can be a sensitive and complex process, but understanding your legal options and the steps involved can help you make informed decisions accordingly.

It’s important to understand “from go” that to contest the appointment of a guardian, you must have valid grounds. Common reasons include:

  • Best interests of the child: The court’s primary concern is the child’s best interests. If you believe the appointed guardian cannot provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment, this can be a basis for your challenge.
  • Incapacity or unfitness: If the named guardian is incapacitated, has a history of abuse or neglect or is otherwise unfit to care for the child, these are valid reasons to contest the appointment.
  • Wishes of the child: If the child is older and is relatively mature, they may be invited to express their preferences to the court. A child’s expressed wish to live with someone other than the guardian named in their parent’s will can be a compelling reason to challenge a guardianship arrangement.

Before taking any action, you’ll likely benefit from seeking personalized legal guidance specific to your situation, given the complexities at issue and all that is at stake.

Taking action

If you opt to challenge a guardianship arrangement, you’ll need to collect evidence supporting your claim that the named guardian is not in the best interests of the child at issue. This may include documentation of the guardian’s incapacity, past incidents of neglect or abuse and any other relevant information that demonstrates their unfitness. In Oklahoma, it is often easy to start with a guardian background check process facilitated by the state.

To formally contest the guardianship, you must file a petition with the probate court. This petition should outline your objections and provide evidence supporting your claim. If you are suggesting an alternative guardian, be prepared to demonstrate why this person is better suited to care for the child. This might involve presenting their qualifications, relationship with the child and ability to provide a stable environment.

Keep in mind throughout this high-stakes process that seeking personalized guidance and support is always an option.