Notify family members

After you file your papers, you have to notify the child's family members and guardian about your request and court date. To let them know, you must have someone give or mail a copy of the court papers to them (called serve court papers).


Who you need to notify

You need to notify everyone who got notice when the case started and the child's guardian (if it's not you). For your case, it would be all the people you listed on your filed Petition for Termination of Guardianship (form GC-255) on Page 2.

How do you need to notify everyone?

You can either get their signed consent or have a copy of the papers hand-delivered or mailed to them at least 15 days before the court hearing.

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Ask for consent

If any of the people you have to notify agree to ending the guardianship, they can sign a consent at the bottom of the Petition for Termination of Guardianship (form GC-255) on Page 2. Make a copy and file the consent with the court. 


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Serve by mail

In general, anyone you need to notify who does not sign the consent can be served by mail. That means that you will need to have someone 18 or older, not you, mail a copy of the Petition and Notice to them. The person who mails is called your server. Some courts may have local rules that require you to serve some of the relatives, like the parents, in person. Ask your Self-Help Center if your court requires personal service for a petition to terminate a guardianship.

  • Make copies of the Petition (and all the attachments) and the Notice of Hearing for every person required to get a copy. Make one extra copy of the Notice of Hearing.
  • Have your server mail the copies at least 15 calendar days, including weekends and holidays, before your court date.
  • After your server mails the Petition and Notice, they need to fill out and sign Page 2 of the Notice. If they served more than 4 people, they can fill out and attach the Attachment to Notice of Hearing (form GC-020(MA)). This is the proof the court requires to show the papers were served.
  • File the Notice with the signed proof of service at least 5 days before your court date.

You will need to prove to the judge that you really tried to find them or explain how you know they are not alive. Write down everything you did to try to find them, with details of who you talked to, the dates, and what the results were.  If you don't even know the name of a relative, say so but explain how you tried to find out.

  • Then, file a Request to Dispense with Notice that includes all the details of your efforts. It is not an existing court form, so ask your court's Self-Help Center if they can help you with a sample.
  • File your Request to Dispense with Notice with an Order Dispensing Notice (form GC-021) for the judge.

If the judge approves your request, they will sign the Order Dispensing Notice and you will be able to move ahead with your case without giving notice to the missing relatives.

End a guardianship

What's next?

Before the court date, the court will assign someone to do an investigation.

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