How can I obtain guardianship of my grandson, whose parents have literally abandoned and left with me?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2012

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How can I obtain guardianship of my grandson, whose parents have literally abandoned and left with me?

Asked on September 12, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to file a custody suit, which in Texas is called a "Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship." (SAPCR).  You can allege abandonment as a basis for obtaining custody.  You want custody, not just guardianship, because you need to have the right to consent to medical treatment, enroll the child in school, or add the child to an insurance policy.  You get much more flexibility with custody.  Guardianship is really applicable to the management of assets-- not necessarily the parenting of a child. 

A SAPCR starts with the filing of a petition.  If you know where the parents live, then they will need to be served with notice of the suit.  (If they've abandoned the child and don't want the child back, they may actually agree to the suit and waive service).  If you have no idea of where they are at, then you can have them served by a process called "publication."  After the filing, you need to request a final hearing with the judge to have you named primary managing conservator. 

If you can find an attorney to help you, the process will go a bit quicker and the will insure that the paperwork is in proper order. More and more attorneys are accepting payment plans and credit cards.... so shop around to find one that you are comfortable with, that knows family law, and offers a payment structure that works with your current financies.  If you have the time, talk to more than one so that you can get a better feel for what you want-- you really need a person who will be diligent and who will take the time to listen to your concerns for your grandson.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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