Investigation to end a guardianship

Before your hearing to end the guardianship, the court may appoint an investigator to do an investigation. The investigator might be a court employee or someone from Child Protective Services or Social Services (typically, a social worker). Courts do not always have an investigation to end a guardianship. 

What to expect if there's an investigation

An investigator does a home study 

An investigator will set up a formal home study. The investigator will:

  • Visit the home where the child will live once the guardianship is ended
  • Interview the child (if appropriate)
  • Interview the parent (or parents) who will take the child back into their custody
  • Review documents about the child (like school records and medical records)
  • Do a background check on all the adults living in the home where the child will be to see if any have a record of neglect or abuse or a criminal record.

The investigator will consider issues like where the child would go to school once the guardianship ends, the family situation, and any health care issues (including mental health). If the child is old enough and mature enough, the investigator may talk with them about ending the guardianship.

The investigator will write a report for the judge

illustration of some paper forms with signature

The court investigator's report summarizes all the information for the judge. It will say if the investigator found there was still a need for a guardianship or if the child can live with their parents. 

The report will have:

  • Recommendations about your case, including any concerns the investigator has.
  • Any other recommendations the court investigator thinks would help, like an evaluation, mediation,  referral to social services, or emergency screening (if needed).

They may also recommend whether the person who has been the guardian should have visitation if the guardianship ends. And, if they recommend that the guardianship not end, they may make a recommendation about parent visitation.

In some cases, the investigator may recommend that the judge appoint a lawyer to represent the child. This lawyer is usually paid for by the court. The cost of the court investigator and possibly the court-appointed lawyer, may be charged to the person asking to end the guardianship. If you cannot afford the fees, you can ask the court for a fee waiver.

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