Michigan Guardianship Law and Procedure
Michigan Guardianship Law
General Michigan guardianships are described under the MI Constitution in section 700.5204. The statutes states:
“A person interested in the welfare of a minor, or a minor if 14 years of age or older, may petition for the appointment of a guardian of the minor. The court may order the Department of Human Services or a court employee or agent of the court to conduct an investigation of the proposed guardianship and file a written report of the investigation.”
Of course, Michigan guardianship is offered for the protection and guidance of an estate if the ward is older, but for the sake of convenience, this article will mainly cover law and procedure for the appointment of a guardian for a minor. For more information, visit the link.
Establishing Michigan Guardianships
The state will normally give preference to relatives, a parent, or friends of the Department of Human Services caseworkers when parental rights have been terminated by the court or the parent allows the minor to live with another person voluntarily.
The court never allows a person or family with a criminal background to have guardianship rights, and individuals who show a weak financial history will not be considered either. However, in order for a qualified person or family to file for Michigan guardianship, they must take a variety of steps.
Filing the Petition
A prospective guardian must first file a petition to the Department of Human Services describing why they believe they are the best guardian for the child, financial information and more. After the petition is filed, the court may grant temporary guardianship to a qualified individual for more than 60 days before the court hearing.
In this waiting period, a social services worker will conduct a home study that will look into the best interests of the minor under Section 15.12 of the Michigan Child Welfare Act. Also, the individual or family seeking Michigan guardianships needs to establish a placement plan. The court will review this plan to establish the Michigan guardianship, and factors of such a document can be found under 15.5.2 of the MI Child Welfare Act.
During court reviews of Michigan guardianships, the court will examine the placement plan, any court structured plans, and more. Ultimately, the court wants to determine if the individual seeking a Michigan guardianship can provide for the minor for an extended period of time and whether the placement is best for the child.
If Michigan guardianships are approved by the court, the minor will live with the guardian for any period of time depending on whether the guardianship is temporary or permanent.
Termination of the Michigan Guardianship
Procedures and determinations for the termination of Michigan guardianships are described in Section 15.10 of the Michigan Child Welfare Act. Some examples include the parents again qualifying for custodial rights with approval of the court, or the child turning 18 and having the right to make decisions on their own.