What is a Contested Guardianship in Florida?
A Florida probate court can appoint a guardian to manage the affairs of a minor child or an adult that suffers from physical or mental disabilities. Under certain circumstances, third parties can challenge the guardianship if they perceive that the child or incapacitated adult is being neglected or his or her needs are not being met. The probate court will then apply specific legal standards to the contested guardianship to determine whether an alternate guardian should be appointed.
The guardianship attorneys at the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker in Stuart, Florida, represent families of minor children and incapacitated adults in contested guardianship proceedings. You need to present appropriate evidence to successfully challenge a guardianship, and if you are not represented by a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer who understands what evidence is required to support your challenge, you may be at a distinct disadvantage in these legal proceedings.
Who Can Contest a Guardianship?
In most cases, a person’s closest living relative or next of kin can contest a guardianship appointment in Florida. The State’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) can also seek to terminate a guardianship over a minor child, for example, if they perceive that the child has become a dependent of the State. Where guardianship over a minor child is at issue, a person’s right and standing to contest a guardianship may become more complicated when, for example, the child’s parents are divorced or separated, or one or both parents are experiencing substance abuse problems and a grandparent is filing a guardianship contest. Before you jump headlong into a Florida guardianship contest, consult with a guardianship attorney in Stuart, FL to determine whether you have proper standing to file your petition.
Under What Circumstances can you Contest a Guardianship in Florida?
If you have proper standing to contest a guardianship, you must retain a lawyer to file a petition for the removal of guardianship and appointment of an alternate guardian. Your petition must explain in detail why the current guardian should not be authorized to continue in his or her role. Possible reasons to replace a guardian include:
- The current guardian is wasting or misusing the assets of the child or incapacitated adult under his or her care
- A child is being abused or neglected, with little or no concern for his best interests or basic needs
- A disabled adult is not receiving necessary medical care
- The current guardian is disposing of major assets or plans to relocate a child or incapacitated adult without giving proper notice to the probate court and other individuals interested in the case.
You will need to present objective evidence of your reasons for contesting a guardianship at a hearing on your petition, such as bank statements showing dissipation of funds and medical care records.
Call the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker
If you sense that something is amiss in an existing guardianship for a close relative who is a minor child or incapacitated adult in Stuart, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, or elsewhere in Martin or Palm Beach Counties or around Florida’s Treasure Coast, call the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker to schedule a consultation with one of our contested guardianship lawyers. We can help you challenge the existing guardianship and petition for the appointment of a new guardian who can better protect the health and welfare of the person under the current guardian’s care.
If the circumstances merit emergency relief, we may have an opportunity to quickly file an emergency petition on your behalf to freeze assets or to arrange immediate medical care. Do not hesitate to call our offices as soon as you become aware of a problem with abuse under a guardianship order.
Your Three Steps to Moving Forward
- Call our office and set up an intake call with our Client Happiness Coordinator.
- Attend a virtual or in-office consultation so we can better understand your case and determine how we can help guide you to success.
- Retain our firm so we may lead you through the legal process as quickly and painlessly as possible.