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Guardianship v Child Custody Petition

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 is incorrect.

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.

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