Vetting Guardianship & Visitation Rights for Relatives
Parental rights are well protected, but the court will place a child with a guardian if there are safety issues. The court can also allow visitation with a relative (like a grandparent) in certain circumstances.
The purpose of minor guardianship is to provide a temporary home as a short-term solution for parents facing hardships like addiction or housing insecurity. In the end, the parents retain their rights.
Typically, a concerned relative who can’t come to a handshake-style agreement with the parent would file a Minor Guardianship Petition asking for an emergency appointment. This often turns into a lengthy and complicated process. The bar is high. A lack of willingness or ability to parent must be evident.
It’s painful when a parent wants to block a certain relative from having a relationship with the kids. But courts are reluctant to interfere with parental rights.
For the relative wanting visitation, know that this is hard to get. You would need to show such a strong relationship with the kids that it would be incredibly detrimental if you exited their lives.
Case Concerns: Kinship Care Solutions
DuBois Levias is well equipped to back either side in cases involving guardianship and relative visitation rights. Another resource geared toward King County cases and low income individuals is the Kinship Care Solutions Project. This service provides free legal advice and representation for relatives and other caregivers seeking minor guardianship when children’s safety and needs are in jeopardy.