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July 2, 2020
by: Gabby Rogers
As a kinship caregiver you may have asked yourself whether you should file for guardianship or what guardianship would even mean for your family. Caring for a child that is not your own can be very challenging and sometimes confusing. Using the legal system can also be challenging as it is not always user-friendly and you may not know where to even start on your journey. You are not alone and there are resources to help you through the process if this is where your situation is leading you.
In order for a guardianship to be granted, the parent(s) must agree or the court must deem the parent as unfit and order a new guardian. This is a very significant decision and should be done with a lot of thoughtful consideration; a guardian acts as a parent for the child and takes on the responsibility that parent would have over the child.
There are three types of guardianship that you can file for. Here is a brief description about each type and when they may be most appropriate.
What is it?
When to file for it?
Temporary Guardianship for Educational, Medical Care, and Dental Purposes.
A form of guardianship used specifically to meet a child’s educational, medical and dental needs. This is the most limited and temporary form of guardianship. Expires in one year unless otherwise determined sooner by a court order.
When you have a child in your care you know that the care you are providing with be short term. This will allow you to sign them up for school, and get them medical and dental care. This form is typically used when parents remain the primary caregiver but may need someone else to take over certain responsibilities.
A form of guardianship in which primary parent roles are taken over by the guardian and responsibility lies with that guardian. Expires in one year and must be renewed prior to that year if continuation is necessary. A court order may terminate the guardianship prior to the one year expiration.
This could be used in a variety of situations, such as when the parent is working on bettering their future and needs to have someone take over parental responsibility for a short period. This type may also be appropriate for deployment situations.
A form of guardianship in which the guardian takes primary parental responsibilities and cares for the child full time. Guardians are required to submit status reports and are due to the court every six months. The only way this type of guardianship can be terminated is through a court order.
This could be used in situations where a parent is incarcerated for a long period of time, death of a parent, abandonment of a child, and many other situations where a parent cannot care for the child.
Guardianship can be filed with or without the help of a lawyer. The required guardianship paperwork with instructions can be found at the Wyoming Judicial Branch website. https://www.courts.state.wy.us/legal-assistances-and-forms/
If you are interested in receiving information and support around exploring and/or filing for guardianship, simply dial 2-1-1 and ask for Kinship Connections. You will be connected to a Kinship Navigator who is looking forward to assisting you.