A guardianship grants non-parents certain rights to care for a child. These usually include the right to make healthcare, travel, education, and financial decisions, as well as maintaining “care, custody, and control” of the minor. As a Wisconsin family lawyer, I assist clients obtain minor guardianships. I also help parents defend against them when they are unnecessary.
Almost every county except Dane County automatically grants the guardian physical placement of the child. However, Dane County judges have determined that an additional motion and order is necessary for placement. This is actually a very controversial distinction. Some Wisconsin family lawyers believe this distinction is an incorrect reading of the law. Regardless, a Wisconsin family lawyer must be aware of this local idiosyncrasy when practicing in Dane County.
There is no specific time limit, so the guardianship lasts as long as necessary. The person requesting the guardianship must show that the parents are unfit/unable to care for the child. This is a high standard, so the guardian must provide strong evidence of the parents’ neglect, dangerous behavior, or inability to safely care for the child.
One of the great difficulties you may face in a guardianship action is presenting legally acceptable evidence that a parent is unfit. Evidence must be presented by someone with specific, personal knowledge. That evidence can be hard to obtain because it often occurs at home, without many witnesses. I will work with you closely to gather and present your evidence to persuade the judge.
I have successfully helped clients obtain guardianships, and would be happy to consult with you. Because of these high standards, and the different procedures in each county, I do not recommend that you request a guardianship without legal assistance.