Saturday, December 8, 2007

Guardianship/Third Party Custody: Additional information

Kids' Voice of Indiana published a paper on third party custody. See Third party custody information.

I dislike their emphasis on guardianships. Having now dealt with two cases in the past three years I cannot support the use of guardianships except in limited circumstances.

For the third party, I think guardianship has all the formalities and clunkiness of probate court.

For the parent, you may have the bad luck I have had in my guardianship/third party cases - a judge who ignores the law. Indiana law puts the burden of proof on the guardian to show (and here I admit oversimplifying the law) by clear and convincing evidence that the parent(s) are unfit and the child(ren)'s best interests are served by the third party having custody. My judge insisted that this was a probate matter. Which explains why we have appellate courts - if the client can afford the costs of an appeal.

So take the article with a grain of salt. Read Matter of the Paternity of J.R.W.; Kevin L. Jemerson & Mamie Darlene Jemerson v. Jack Watterson & Nathanial Green (PDF format) for its facts about using a guardianship in a third-party custody matters. (I hope to have a fuller examination of this case tomorrow but it does have the distinction of being a third party custody case where an aunt instead of a grandparent seeks custody of a child.)

Is there no use of guardianships? Yes, its traditional use when both parents are dead.

For other articles written by me on third-party custody, you need only to click on "Third-party Custody" next to the word Label below.

Remember that I am interested in taking on Indiana third party cases.

No comments: