I am often asked whether a child guardianship or custody petition is appropriate
for a non-parent to obtain physical "custody" of a child. Many
attorneys assume that this must be a guardianship petition but this assumption
When a guardianship petition is filed it must be accompanied by a home
study which can cost an individual hundreds of dollars. A simply way to
avoid this home study is to file a custody petition. Grandparents, aunts
and friends of the family can all file a petition to obtain custody of
a child who is under the age of 18 when it is necessary to do so. Sometimes
this is due to a parent not being able to care for a child due to a health
issue or other emergent situation.
I always recommend speaking to an attorney to determine what the proper
petition to file is. Many times a grandparent will file a custody petition
when the appropriate petition is a simple visitation petition.