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Common questions about establishing guardianship of a child

If you are not the biological parent of a child but want to ensure the safety, development and well-being of a child whom you care for, becoming a guardian may be a good option for you. However, you will need to file papers with the courts in order to establish a guardianship, and the custodial parents of the child will need to give their consent.

You should have a good idea of the procedure involved before taking action to try and establish guardianship of a child in Hawaii. By understanding the full process, you will be able to foresee any hurdles and undergo a more efficient journey toward guardianship. The following are some commonly asked questions about the logistical aspects of the process.

How does the court decide whether a guardianship should be granted?

Like in all issues relating to child custody, the courts will always strive to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. Before filing for guardianship, you should have in mind clear reasons why you think that becoming a guardian will be in the child's interests.

What is the formal procedure?

You need to start the procedure by filing papers with the court and paying the fee. Interviews will then take place to establish the facts. These interviews will involve you, the child's custodial parents and other adults who have a good relationship with the child. If the child is mature enough, they may also be interviewed.

Can a guardianship be established without the parents' consent?

In most cases, guardianships require parental consent. However, if the biological parents have had their parental rights terminated or have abandoned the child, the courts will want to make sure that the child is cared for by responsible and loving people in their life. Additionally, you may be able to persuade a judge to remove the parents' rights to custody if you believe that they are not fit parents, and, as a result, you may be able to gain guardianship rights regardless of their objections.

If you are concerned about a child whom you care for and would like to pursue guardianship options, it is important to understand the law in Hawaii.

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