Filing the Petition

Filing the Petition
The person filing the petition should neatly complete pages 1, 2, and the top of page 3 before filing with the court. Make sure the blanks on page two, the Relinquishment of Parental Rights form, are filled in properly before the parents sign this page. By signing this page, the parents are giving their parental rights to the proposed temporary guardian. Where indicated, the petition must be signed in the presence of a notary public or a probate court clerk and the appropriate seal affixed. Proper identification of the person(s) signing the document must be provided.

Once pages 1, 2, and 3(a) of the petition, the consent form, and the questionnaire are completed, an appointment should be scheduled for the proposed guardian to file them with the court and for a clerk to prepare the notice section of the Petition for Temporary Letters of Guardianship, if necessary. If a minor is between the ages of 14 and 18, he or she should accompany the proposed guardian to the appointment in order to sign, in the presence of a court clerk, the selection of the petitioner as temporary guardian.

Role of the Parents
If both parents have signed the relinquishment form, in most cases the final order will be granted and Temporary Letters of Guardianship will be issued during this appointment. If one of the parent's rights have been terminated by a higher court, a copy of that order must be filed with us. The parent whose rights were terminated need not sign the relinquishment form or be served in any other way. This does not mean one parent was given full custody over another parent - it means a total termination of parental rights.

If a parent who does not sign the relinquishment form has a current or last known address, that parent must either be served personally by a sheriff's deputy or by certified mail, depending on the situation. Additional fees will apply. If either parent does not, will not, or cannot sign the Relinquishment Form, and the petitioner knows of no current or last known address for that parent, a citation must be published in the county legal organ (The Athens Banner Herald), stating that a petition for guardianship for the child / children has been filed in the Probate Court. The missing parent or other interested party is given a certain date and time by which any objection to guardianship must be filed.

When such notice by publication is required, a fee of $60 for the legal ad must be paid to the newspaper. A second appointment will be scheduled for you when the petition is ready for action by the judge. If your petition is approved, the final order will be granted and Temporary Letters of Guardianship will be issued to you at that time. A copy of the minor's birth certificate showing the full name of the minor and parent information will be required.