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Guardianships, Minor

How do I become a guardian for a minor?

You must file a petition for appointment of a guardian for a minor in the district court for the county where the minor is found or in the county where the minor lives. There is no official Iowa court form for a petition for minor guardianship at this time.

  • A potential guardian must pass a criminal background check and pay a fee for the background check. Notice of the petition must be served on the minor and the minor’s parents.
  • For more information on filing the petition for a minor guardianship and the contents of the petition, see Iowa Code section 232D.301. Guardianships can be complicated and you should visit with an attorney.
For what reasons can I be appointed guardian of a minor?

There are several reasons for appointment of a guardian for a minor, including the following:

  • Both parents of the minor are deceased.
  • The minor’s parents voluntarily consent to the guardianship.
  • A parent with legal custody can no longer provide care and parental supervision.
  • The minor’s parent or parents are in jail or prison.
  • The minor’s parent is on active military duty.
  • Someone other than the parent is solely caring for the minor.
What are the responsibilities of a guardian for a minor?

A guardian must:

  • Act in the best interest of the minor.
  • Ensure the minor’s health, education, safety, welfare, and support.
  • Maintain regular contact with the minor.
  • Make reasonable efforts to continue the relationship of the minor and the minor’s parents.
  • File an initial care plan and annual reports.
  • Promptly inform the court of any change in the minor’s address or school.
  • See Iowa Code section 232D.402.
Can I get a minor guardianship for someone else?

Yes, you can get a minor guardianship for another person, but guardianships can be complicated, and you should talk to an attorney.

Where can I find forms for a minor guardianship?

There are free forms for minor guardianship reports in chapter 8 of the Iowa Court Rules, also available in fillable and savable format on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at: Unrepresented persons must use these forms for adult guardianships, and all conservatorships. Iowa Court Rules 8.37.

Are minor guardianship records public or confidential?

Records in minor guardianships are not available to the public. Records in adult guardianships are available to the public.

What is a “court visitor” in a guardianship case?

A court visitor is appointed by the court to talk to the minor, interview the potential guardians and those involved with the child, and report back to the court. See Iowa Code section 232D.305.

What is an emergency appointment of a guardian?

Emergency appointment of a guardian may be necessary to avoid immediate harm to the minor.

How do I stop or end a minor guardianship?

To end a minor guardianship before the child turns 18, you must file a motion to request the court to terminate the guardianship, and the court may hold a hearing on the motion. When a child turns age 18, the minor guardianship automatically ends with the filing of a final report. See Iowa Code section 232D.503.

What happens when the minor turns 18?

Guardianships of minors terminate automatically when the minor reaches the age of 18.

If the minor will need a guardian after she or he becomes an adult (age 18), the guardian may file a petition for a standby guardianship to begin on the minor's 18th birthday. However, a guardian cannot file such a petition until the minor is 17.5 years of age.

Can a guardian of a minor be removed?

The court may remove a guardian for a minor for failure to perform guardianship duties or for other good reasons. The court will conduct a hearing to determine whether a guardian should be removed if a petition to remove a guardian is filed by a minor under guardianship who is 14 years of age or older, a parent of the minor under guardianship, or other person with an interest in welfare of the minor. The court will remove a guardian only if it determines that there are reasonable grounds for believing that removal is appropriate based on information in the petition. See Iowa Code Section 232D.502.

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