Guardianship can be termed as a kind of custody, though it is not custody itself. In some cases, a third party may require guardianship of a minor for the limited purpose of imparting education or for safeguarding the minor child’s health. The one difference between custody and guardianship is that guardianship has fewer procedures than custody.
Situations, where guardianship is required in Maryland, are as follows:
When there is a need for medical treatment, the medical provider will require the parent of the child or guardian to sign in the documents for initiating treatment. If guardianship has not been granted for the purpose of medical treatment, the parent should be present for the treatment. Also for enrollment in educational institutions, guardianship is required.
When a guardianship in Maryland is not necessary?
To make an application for social security benefits, guardianship is not necessary. Also, one point to note regarding guardianship is, if guardian dies, the minor child does not become entitled to social security benefits.
Who is allowed to file a guardianship petition in Maryland:
Any interested person may file guardianship petition for the following purposes
- Requesting the court to appoint a guardian of a minor
- Requesting the court to appoint a guardian for an allegedly disabled person
How to file a petition for guardianship
As per the form prescribed in Md. Rule 10-111, a petition for guardianship of minor may be filed. Similarly, the form relevant for petitioning for guardianship of disabled person is prescribed in Md. Rule 10-112. Any interested person may also request an expedited hearing for the disposal of the petition for guardianship. The need for expedited disposal of guardianship petitions arise when there is a threat to the health of the minor or if any delay in appointing the guardian will lead to delayed medical treatment, thus causing harm to the minor
Where can a petition for guardianship in Maryland be filed:
If the minor is a Maryland resident, then the guardianship petition can be filed in the county in Maryland where such person resides or in the county where the medical treatment is being taken by the minor
If the minor is not a Maryland resident, the petition may be filed in any country where the minor is residing presently
Other important points about guardianship in Maryland:
In some cases, the identity of the father of the minor child is not known, then the person seeking guardianship may file a petition requesting the court to waive the notice requirement. In support of this petition, the third party should file proof of all attempts to search for the father.
If a third party connected with the minor child by blood cares for the child, he/she is entitled to receive social service for the child whether such person has custody or guardianship. If such a person is not connected by blood, such person is not entitled to social service benefit even if he/she obtains guardianship. In this situation, the person not connected by blood should file for custody.
Guardianship if granted for a minor child may be terminated if another order is entered by the court modifying its initial order. Such modification is awarded if parties file a consent for the termination.
Guardianship in Maryland for adults
Guardianship is required for disabled adults. Here, it is important to note that legally a person is termed ‘alleged disabled person’ till such person is determined to be disabled by the court based on evidence proved medically and legally. Till the court makes a determination about the legal capacity of the allegedly disabled person, such a person is presumed to be legally capable.
Who may file for guardianship in Maryland for adults
Any person who is interested in the welfare of the allegedly disabled person is considered an interested person. The appropriate venue for filing a petition for guardianship of disabled person is the county where the allegedly disabled person resides. The other alternative venue for filing this petition is the county where an allegedly disabled person is hospitalized. In some cases, guardianship of person and property are prayed for at the same time. But this is not a mandatory requirement.
What should the petition contain in Maryland
The petition requesting guardianship of the allegedly disabled person should contain an explanation of the disability of the person, the effect of such disability on the normal activity of the concerned person and the purposes of appointing the guardian.
Other details that should be included in the petition if it is a petition for guardianship of property are details about the actual value of the property and how the disabled person’s disability limited his/her capacity to control and manage the property. The petition should also contain information as to whether a guardian has previously been appointed for the disabled person and if such guardian was terminated what were the reasons for such termination. In some instances, the disabled person may be represented by an attorney, and then the name, address and other details may be included in the petition.
Disability certificate in Maryland
Some of the important documents that should be submitted along with the petition for guardianship are two certificates from health care professional that the allegedly disabled person is has been evaluated to be a disabled person. The person issuing these certificates may be physicians who are eligible and licensed to practice medicine in the United States or one licensed physician or licensed psychologist or social worker. Some of the details the certificates should contain are all details of the professionals who conducted the evaluation, a history of the petitioner’s relationship with the allegedly disabled person and other details about the nature and extent of the disability and whether the person requires constant care and attention.
There is a mandatory requirement that at least of the evaluations has been done within 21 days of filing the petition. Such certificates are considered as evidence of disability and the testimony of the professional who conducted the evaluation is generally not needed. In certain rare instances, another party may contest the disability of the person, in such cases, the testimony of the professionals may be required. If such a disabled person is in the control and custody of another person who is not permitting the conduct of the evaluation, then the petition may be filed requesting the court to order such evaluation.
Court process after filing the petition in Maryland
After the petition is filed, the court signs an order that is termed as “Show Cause Order”. This order requires the disabled person to respond to this guardianship petition within a twenty-day time period. Such an order also specifies the date of the hearing of the guardianship petition.
All interested persons in this guardianship matter will receive the notice including the petitioner. In this stage, if the allegedly disabled person is not assisted by an attorney, the court takes the initiative of appointed an attorney to represent the interests of the allegedly disabled person in these proceedings. Such an appointment makes sure that the rights of the allegedly disabled person are protected.
Also, it is to be noted that merely because the disability of the client is in question, this does not act as an excuse for the lawyer to fail in performing his professional obligations towards the client.
Following are the duties of a court-appointed attorney towards his client in Maryland
- To guide the client about court proceedings
- To present the case in favor of the allegedly disabled person
When is guardianship granted in Maryland
Guardianship is granted only if there exists persuasive evidence that the petitioner has to be appointed as the guardian for the disabled person as the person is actually disabled and requires the petitioner’s guardianship. It should also be proved that there is no other alternative to safeguard the interests of the disabled person.
Whether a petition for guardianship in Maryland may also include a request for attorney fees
In most cases, the interested person filing for guardianship will also be filing for attorney fees. The courts order such attorney fees based on the facts and circumstances of the case. The factors considered by the courts in awarding attorney fees include the financial situation of the disabled person and whether there is a strong ground for filing the petition for guardianship. In cases where the petition for guardianship is filed by the Maryland Department of Social Service or any agency that is eligible to be a guardian to the disabled person.
If you need a Guardianship lawyer in Maryland to help you with a Maryland Guardianship case, call 888-437-7747. Our Maryland Guardianship attorneys can help you.