About Minor Guardianships
Full and limited guardianship actions when no parent is willing and able to perform their parenting functions.
Action is brought when no person is willing or has authority to act on behalf of the minor in an emergent situation and may be brought to place the children with a guardian while the Minor Guardianship Custody case moves forward. An emergency guardianship will serve the purpose of temporary orders and are not to exceed 60 days, but can be extended.
Unique case within the Minor Guardianship process where no parent is willing or able to perform their parenting functions within the next two years.
Introduction to the Process
There are two main kinds of Minor Guardianship cases: a Minor Guardianship Case and an Emergency Minor Guardianship case. Many people may need to file both to obtain the relief they need.
There is a third kind of Minor Guardianship case called a Standby Guardianship case. This kind of case addresses a narrow set of circumstances and is not expected to be commonly used.
An Emergency Minor Guardianship case can be filed at the same time as a Minor Guardianship case. The court may use an Emergency Minor Guardianship Order, to place the children with a guardian while the Minor Guardianship case moves forward.
Use a Minor Guardianship Petition (form GDN M 102) to start a regular (nonemergency) Guardianship Case. This process may be used to appoint a guardian by agreement, or if no parent is willing or able to provide for the support, care, education, health, safety, and welfare of a child under age 18 (exercise the parenting functions in RCW 26.09.004). A child or an interested party may file the petition. The filing of the petition will start the case.
Other forms needed to start the case and seek relief from the court are:
- Notice of Hearing for Court Commissioner Motions-Family and Juvenile Court (Available on the Clerk’s website here)
- Summons (form GDN M 001)
- Declaration Explaining Reasons for Minor Guardianship (form GDN M 103)
- Criminal History Cover Sheet (form GDN M 407)
- Washington State Patrol Request for Conviction Criminal History Record (Available at the Clerk’s office)
- Motion and Order to DCYF to Release CPS Information (forms GDN M 404 and GDN M 405).
For Emergency Guardianship cases, use Minor Emergency Guardianship Petition (form GDN M 202).
What calendars will be used to address requests for relief in Minor Guardianship Cases?
- Petitioners seeking action in Emergency Guardianship cases may schedule their motions on the daily Family Law Emergency Ex Parte calendar (4 pm every weekday). Click here for the Notice of Hearing for Ex Parte Emergency Motions.
- Petitioners seeking non-emergency action may note their motions on one of the weekly Minor Guardianship Calendars, presently scheduled on Wednesdays at 9 am and 10 am. Click here for the Notice of Hearing for Court Commissioner Motions-Family and Juvenile Court.
- Agreed motions or motions that do not require notice to other parties may be presented on the Agreed Ex Parte Calendar, every day at 8:45 am. Click here for more information on that calendar.
- Respondents in Minor Guardianship cases may also note motions on any of the above calendars.
Day 1: Case filing, obtain emergency orders
Day 20: Objection to Emergency Minor Guardianship (Response)
By Day 60: Request for first and only extension of emergency orders
By Day 120: Case is dismissed, all emergency orders dissolved, unless Regular Guardianship case has been filed and Emergency and Regular cases have been consolidated.
Day 1: Case filing/service
Day 20: Objection to Minor Guardianship (Response)
Day 60: Review hearing/interim motions (for court visitor, lawyers, default)
Day 120: Review hearing/entry agreed orders
Day 150: Settlement conference
Day 180: Trial for contested cases