Terminating a Child Guardianship
There are several different ways to end a child guardianship case. The options generally depend on the age of the child and whether the guardians and parents will agree to end the guardianship. Visit this section to find out the different ways to have a child guardianship case closed.
If the guardians will not voluntarily agree to end the guardianship, a hearing is required.
The person who wants to end the guardianship will have to file some forms, set a court hearing, and serve the guardians and all other relatives so a judge can see everyone in person and decide whether the guardianship is still needed.
If a parent wants to end the guardianship and have the children returned, the parent has to show that there has been a material change in circumstances since the guardianship was put in place. The parent has to show that they are capable of providing for the child's basic needs. Parents may also have to show that the child's welfare would be substantially enhanced by having the child return to their care.
To set a court date and ask a judge to end a child guardianship, please download the following packet and follow all included instructions.
There are different rules that apply depending on whether the guardianship was over the child's person or the child's estate:
Guardianships Over the Person
When a child turns 18, the guardianship over the person automatically terminates. Although the guardians do not have to do anything to legally end the guardianship, they should notify the court in writing when the child turns 18 so the case can be officially closed.
Guardianships Over the Estate
If the guardianship involved the child's estate, there may be assets held at a financial institution that the child wants released. Even when the child turns 18, the financial institution cannot release the assets without a court order.
Once the minor turns 18, the minor who was the subject of the guardianship can fill out a form requesting that the final accounting be waived and that the assets be released. The judge can then sign an order authorizing the release of the assets to the 18 year old.
To have the assets released, the child can download and fill out the following packet. Be sure to follow all of the included instructions.
The above packet only applies to cases where a guardianship was court-ordered and assets were blocked due to the guardianship. If the minor's assets are being held because of a "compromise of a minor's claim" (this is usually the result of court cases where money was awarded to a child, such as personal injury matters), a different procedure is required. You can find out how to have those kinds of funds released by visiting the Civil Law Self Help Center and downloading the "Petition to Disburse Funds from a Minor's Blocked Account" on the District Court Forms page.
If all of the parents and guardians agree that a guardianship over a child is no longer needed, they can sign a "stipulation" stating that they all agree to end the guardianship. If the child is age 14 or older, the child must also sign the stipulation. If only one parent will agree to end the guardianship, the other parent's non-consent must be explained.
If the guardianship was put in place as the result of a CPS investigation, this option is usually not allowed. Instead, the judge will require the parents to formally petition to end the guardianship so the judge can ask any questions at a hearing.
The guardians and parents will have to give the reason why the guardianship is not needed anymore, and must include information about who will have custody of the child going forward. All of the parents and guardians (and the child if age 14 or older) must sign the stipulation in front of a notary.
Once the parties sign the stipulation, the form must be turned in to the judge to review. If the judge is satisfied with the reasons for ending the guardianship, the judge will sign the "order" portion of the form. The judge's approval is required to terminate the guardianship.
If the parents and guardians agree to end a guardianship over a child, please download the following packet and follow all of the included instructions.
This information only applies if the guardianship was granted over the "person only." If the guardianship involves a child's estate, a hearing is required so the judge can approve a final accounting. Please visit Asking a Judge to Terminate a Guardianship for information on how to terminate a guardianship over the child's estate.