File your Guardianship Petition and other forms

Once you complete your forms, you need to file them with the court and pay a filing fee of $225. If you can’t afford the fee based on the child's income, you can ask the court to waive it. 

How to file forms with the court

  • Take your forms to the court clerk

    Go to the same courthouse you listed on your forms. Guardianship cases are usually decided in the probate division of the court, so you will file them with the probate clerk. In some courts, guardianship may be decided in the family division. So, check with the clerk when you file to be sure where you should file your papers.

    At the courthouse, you’ll file the forms you filled out by giving the original and the copies to the clerk.

    If you filled out additional forms to request a temporary order, give these to the clerk too.

    The clerk will give you a case number and court date, and stamp the forms. The court will keep the original and return the copies to you. One is for you. The others are for the child's parents and other family members.

    The clerk will usually keep the Letters and Order so the judge can sign them on your court date. If they give them back to you, you will need to bring these to the court date.

    Yes, you can file by mail. Mail the original and copies to the clerk. You need to include the filing fee (or request for fee waiver) and a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. Make sure to include enough postage. If you do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope, you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies. 

    Some courts allow or require online filing (called e-filing). You can find out if your court has e-filing by visiting your court’s website. 
  • Pay a filing fee

    In most counties, you'll need to pay a filing fee of $225 to the clerk when you file your forms for a guardianship of the person. For a guardianship of the estate or of the person and the estate, the fee is $435. In a few counties, the fee is $35-$50 more.

    If the child can't afford the fee, you fill out more forms to ask for a fee waiver.

    You qualify for a fee waiver if the child:

    • Receives public benefits, 

    • Has an income less than a set amount, or

    • Can’t afford the fee and meet their basic needs. 


What's next?

Once you’ve filed the forms, the next step is to have the forms delivered to the child's family members. You need to follow specific processes to do this called serving papers.

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