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Upon the filing of a petition, a hearing will be scheduled at least 5 to 6 weeks after the filing of the petition to allow the Department of Human Services to perform an investigation of the proposed guardianship and make a recommendation to the Court as to the appropriateness of the guardianship and proposed guardian.
In addition to this investigation, Montcalm County Probate Court performs a criminal history check on all proposed guardians and any adult residing in the home with the minor child.
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Minor guardianships, once established through the Court, are not temporary but rather continue until the age of eighteen or terminated by the Court. An order establishing a guardianship will state that the minor may not be returned to the parent(s) without a prior court order.
Upon appointment of the guardian, he/she will be required to file an acceptance of appointment (PDF) (SCAO Form PC571) indicating that they are willing to serve as guardian of the minor until age eighteen. The guardian will be issued letters of authority which contain language that the minor cannot be returned to the parent(s) without a court order.
The guardian is expected to maintain their current address and the current address of the minor at all times with the Court. You will find a Change of Address form (PDF) on the website for your use.
Yearly, on the anniversary of the appointment of the guardian, the guardian will be required to file an annual report of guardian and proof of service. See instructions for Annual Reporting.
In addition to the yearly reporting of the guardian, the Department of Human Services will be ordered to do a review of the guardianship one year after the appointment of the guardian and yearly thereafter for any children under the age of six or every three years for minors over the age of six. The Department of Human Services will file a report on the status of the minor guardianship with recommendations for continuation of the guardianship. If necessary, the Court will schedule a review hearing based on the recommendations of the Department of Human Services.
In any type of guardianship, upon the filing of the petition with the Court the petitioner will be required to set the matter for hearing and provide "notice" of their petition and the pending hearing on the parent(s), the minor (if over age 14 years of age) or in the case of a limited guardianship, the proposed guardian. The petitioner will be required to complete and file a Proof of Service with the Court (see instructions for filing a Proof of Service (PDF)).
At the hearing, the petitioner will be expected to appear to present their petition and present testimony and/or evidence as to why their petition should be granted. The judge will determine if there is a basis for the guardianship and if the proposed guardian is appropriate for appointment