Permanency Planning and Standby Guardianship

Background Materials


Interview Forms


Documents and Procedures


Note: many of the forms below are pdf files that can be filled in and saved online using Acrobat Professional

Two Methods:

A parent with a progressively chronic or irreversibly fatal illness may plan for her/his children by naming a suitable person as a "Standby Guardian." There are two methods for appointing a Standby Guardian:Parent Petition (or "do-it-now" method and Designation (or "do it later/Guardian as petitioner" method). In the Parent Petition method, a parent files a petition with court to have a Standby Guardian appointed. In the Designation method, the parent signs a Designation of Standby Guardian in front of two witnesses. The person named as Standby Guardian must file a petition with the court at a later date. In both situations, the selected Standby Guardian has no legal authority until one of four "triggering events" occurs.

Be sure to use the correct set of forms, depending on who is the petitioner in your case. If the Parent is the petitioner, go to the section of this page for "Parent Petition Method/Do It Now" If the Standby Guardian will be the petitioner, you will use different forms. Go to the section of this page for "Designation /Do It Later"

 

Parent Petition Method/Do It Now:


A parent who is ready to file with the court for appointment of a standby guardian will follow the "petition" method. On behalf of this parent we will file a Petition with the court, serve the Petition and a Notice of Hearing on the absent parent, and represent the client at a hearing before the Clerk of Court. Even when we plan to file a Petition, we also have the client sign a Written Designation as a safeguard. Note that all documents must be prepared for each child. There will be a separate court file for each child.

 

Documents

USE these forms only if the parent is petitioner. If guardian is petitioner, see below

 

Documents for Filing Petition (Parent as Petitioner)

Service: Unless the absent parent is deceased, we must serve the Petition and Notice of Hearing on the absent parent in accordance with Rule 4 of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure . We serve by one of three methods: Sheriff, Certified Mail, or Publication. Discuss service requirements and strategies with your supervising attorney. If the absent parent is deceased, we must obtain a copy of the death certificate and provide a copy to the court.

  • Sheriff: Prepare Sheriff's Return of Service and send to the Sheriff in the County in which the absent parent resides, along with a cover letter, the Petition, and the Notice of Hearing
  • Certified Mail: If you serve by this method, you will send the Petition and Notice of Hearing by Certified Mail. Discuss details with your supervisor. After we receive the "green card" documenting receipt, prepare an Affidavit of Service by Certified Mail for your supervisor's signature
  • Publication: If serving by publication, you must prepare a Notice of Service by Publication This is sent to the appropriate legal newspaper. Discuss the details with your supervisor. Use the Service by Publication Checklist. See our overview of Service by Publication. Prior to the hearing, you will also need to prepare a Due diligence affidavit outlining the steps taken to locate the absent parent.
  • People Finding: Use this guide to for resources on finding the absent parent. Be sure to keep careful records of the searches you perform.

Documents for the Hearing (Parent as Petitioner)

Designation Method/Do it Later/Guardian as Petitioner:

A parent with a progressively chronic or irreversibly fatal disease may designate a Standby Guardian by signing a Designation of Standby Guardian in front of two witnesses. When using this method, there is no immediate requirement that the named guardian be approved by the court. The Standby Guardian will not have legal authority until one of four possible "triggering events" has occurred. When a triggering event occurs, the Standby Guardian designated by the parent will have legal authority for 90 days. During that time, the Standby Guardian must file a petition in the court to continue the legal authority until the child reaches 18. This method of appointing a guardian is useful when the parent is unwilling or unable to follow through with a court case at the present time.

Documents

Use these forms only if the GUARDIAN is petitioner. If parent is petitioner, see above.

 

Documents for Filing Petition (Guardian as petitioner)

Service of papers:  See Above. 

Documents for the Hearing (Guardian as petitioner)

Other Permanency Planning Documents


Power of Attorney Documents for Minors