The Legal Grounds of Sole Guardianship

In Colorado, there are certain instances in which parental custody is not in the best interest of the child. Instead, a child may require a legal guardian.

C.R.S. 15-14-102(8) defines a legal guardian as a person who is lawfully vested with the power and charged with the duty of taking care of a minor. The minor must be un-emancipated and under the age of 18. While relatives and family friends are often legal guardians, any adult over the age of 21 and capable of caring for the minor, may petition for legal guardianship.

Gordon N. Shayne is a highly experienced family law attorney who can help you fight for sole guardianship. A practicing attorney for over 34 years, he has a vast knowledge of Colorado guardianship case law that he applies to your unique situation.

The Difference Between Custody and Guardianship

In Colorado, custody can only be awarded to a child’s natural or adopted parents. When an adult who is not a parent has the same legal responsibilities as a parent, they can become a legal guardian.

In Colorado, a child cannot have custodial parents and a legal guardian at the same time. In order to be eligible for legal guardianship, it must be proven that a child is in a custody situation where their physical health, safety, or well-being is neglected or in danger.

When Is a Guardianship Possible?

In order to acquire legal guardianship of a minor, the parents must consent to the guardianship. This can happen in one of two ways:

  • Voluntarily – the parent consents to the guardianship and consciously relinquishes rights to make decisions on the child’s behalf
  • Involuntarily – the parent has lost custodial rights due to a crime, including child abuse, negligence, drug use, or death

Once a legal guardianship has been awarded, the legal guardian has all official powers of custody over the child. This means that the legal guardian can determine the terms of visitation with parents and maintains the right to raise the child without interference.

Filing for Guardianship

To set up legal guardianship in Colorado, a petition must be filed. This petition not only needs to be filed with the Colorado court, it must also be delivered to the child’s immediate family and grandparents. After filing a petition, the potential guardian will be evaluated by the Department of Social Services or the Court Investigator’s Unit, depending on if they are related to the child. These investigators will help the court determine if the guardianship is in the best interest of the child.

Appealing Sole Guardianship

While parents may relinquish custodial rights to their children, they may appeal a legal guardianship if they disagree with the situation. Petitions must be filed for an appeal and all parties must return to court to determine if it is in the best interest of the child to end the guardianship.

Colorado Guardianship and Custody Attorney

In a petition for legal guardianship, the stakes are just as high as in a custody battle. With an experienced attorney by your side, you can protect your rights and pursue your best interests. To understand the differences in a parental responsibilities, paternity action or guardianship, it always suggested that you consult with a lawyer, who has experience in this specific area of the law.

Whether you are pursuing legal guardianship or are protecting your parental rights, Gordon N. Shayne provides the legal representation you need for your case. Contact Mr. Shayne today for a free consultation.