In the District of Columbia permanent guardianship generally enumerates the permanent guardian’s rights and responsibilities concerning the care, custody, and control of the child or an adult.
Our Family Law DC guardianship lawyer is thoroughly familiar with the relevant statutory elements and can assist you in navigating through all aspects of filing and prosecuting a guardianship motion.
Specifically, according to the relevant DC guardianship statute, upon issuance of a guardianship order, the permanent guardian is granted physical custody of the child and is required by law to provide day to day care of the child including but not limited to providing: food, shelter, clothing, education, discipline, health care as well as providing legal assistance when needed and authorizing releases of information for health care or educational purposes.
The Court may issue a DC guardianship order only after concluding that:
- Such is in the child’s best interests;
- Adoption/termination of parental rights or return of the child to the biological parent is not appropriate;
- That permanent guardian is fit and able to provide a safe and permanent home environment for the child.
In determining whether it is in the child’s best interests that a permanent guardian be designated, the court shall consider each of the following factors:
- The child’s need for continuity of care and caretakers, and for timely integration into a stable and permanent home, taking into account the differences in the development and the concept of time of children of different ages;
- The physical, mental, and emotional health of all individuals involved to the degree that each affects the welfare of the child, the decisive consideration being the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child;
- The quality of the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent, siblings, relatives, and caretakers, including the proposed permanent guardian;
- To the extent feasible, the child’s opinion of his or her own best interests in the matter; and
- Evidence that drug-related activity continues to exist in a child’s home environment after intervention and services have been provided pursuant to section 6-2104.01. Evidence of continued drug-activity shall be given great weight.
A petition for an incapacitated individual may be filed by any person interested in the welfare of the incapacitated individual.
The petition may be limited, temporary or permanent and must include:
- The petition shall state the name, address, and interest of the petitioner,
- State the name, age, residence, and address of the individual for whom a guardian is sought,
- Set forth the reasons for which the guardianship is sought with specific particularity so as to enable the court to determine what class of examiner and visitor should examine the person alleged to be incapacitated.
The petition shall be served upon the subject of the petition. After the filing of a petition, the court will schedule a hearing on the matter and will appoint counsel for the incapacitated person.
The court will also appoint an appropriately qualified examiner who will submit a report in writing to the court. The incapacitated individual will be also interviewed by a visitor appointed by the court. The examiner and the visitor shall be separate persons.
The court may waive the appointment of a visitor and, where a report has been submitted in writing to the court for the allegedly incapacitated individual, the court may waive the appointment of an examiner.
The court shall waive, absent good cause shown, the appointments of a visitor and examiner if the petition seeks appointment of an emergency guardian or a health-care guardian and the petition is supported by the certification of incapacity.
When the incapacity alleged is due an intellectual disability, preference is for the appointment of an examiner and visitor who are qualified developmental disability professionals and who can collectively give a complete social, psychological, and medical evaluation of the individual.
For any individual alleged to be incapacitated, any current social, psychological, medical, or other evaluation used for diagnostic purposes or in the development of a current plan of treatment or any current plan of treatment shall be presented as evidence to the court.
An individual alleged to be incapacitated shall be present at the hearing unless good cause is shown for the absence. The individual shall be represented by counsel and is entitled to present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses, including any court-appointed examiner or visitor.
If you are considering filing a DC guardianship motion, please contact our experienced family law DC guardianship lawyer for a thorough case evaluation and analysis.