Checklist and Things to Know -Guardianship of a Minor
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
About Filing A Petition For Guardianship Of A Child
To become a guardian, you must file paperwork with the court and go to a hearing. You ask the judge to appoint you the guardian of a minor child.
This information cannot address every situation. You should talk to a lawyer about your situation and learn the best way to proceed, if a guardianship is the right type of court action to pursue and where to file in court.
The Oklahoma Statutes change on November 1st requiring 3 types of background checks for the proposed guardian, any co-guardians and anyone living in the household with the minor ward, 18 years old and older.
To use Legal Aid's online court forms program, you must:
be an adult, 18 years of age or older; and,
want to be appointed guardian of a child or children; and,
be a blood relative to the child (the grandparent, aunt or uncle or someother relative by blood to the child or children). AND,
The child or children have NO income or property; and,
The natural parents must agree to the guardianship (or be deceased or in prison); and,
If you are requesting a co-guardian, he or she must related to the child by blood or related to you by marriage.
To fill out the court papers on the computer
Print the questionnaire here
to help you organize the information you must have to fill out the court forms.
Here is a list of the information you need to have with you when you fill out the paperwork or go through the online computer program:
- The name of the county where you are filing the petition.
- The name of any other person you are asking to be a co-guardian.
- THREE types of background checks for you and anyone living in the household 18 years of age or older
- a national fingerprint-based criminal background check (like an FBI check); and,
- a state of Oklahoma background check including the Sex Offenders Registration Act database (like the OSBI check); and,
- a search of the child abuse and neglect information system maintained for review by authorized entities by the Department of Human Services, download the form and instructions here
- About each child:
o Full name, first, middle, last legal name
o Birth date, day, month, year
o Social security number
o Whether or not the child is a member of an Indian tribe; and if so, the name of the tribe
o The address where the children live now.
o The City, State where have the children lived in the past 5 years.
o The names of people the child has lived during the past 5 years.
o Other court proceedings involving each child (Court (district or juvenile), County, Case number).
- About the parents:
o Full legal names
o Addresses, if possible
Fees and Costs
Printing and Copying
This online program can be accessed from any computer-at your home, a library, a courthouse. Any place with public computer access.
You can fill out the computer program and save the answers online securely by getting a password online, then print them out in another location.
If you use a public computer at a library or at the courthouse, you may be charged a fee to print the forms.
The Court Clerks' office will also charge you a fee for coping the court forms. You will have to have several copies of some of the forms and the final orders.
Court Filing Fees
Family Members: Petition for Guardianship of a Minor for a family member: $50.00, if you do not have a lawyer.
Child receives Social Security or other assistance: No Fees. Oklahoma Statute Title 56 § 192:
No costs shall be charged whatsoever either by the court clerk or by the county judge of the district court in cases involving the guardianship of persons who are applicants for, or who are receiving old-age or other assistance under the Social Security Laws of this state.
If you are not able to file the petition because you do not have the $50.00, you may ask the court to waive the filing fees. The Paupers Affidavit is filed with the court clerk. You must be willing to tell the Judge about your income and expenses. The Judge will decide if you will be able to file the Paupers Affidavit instead of paying the filing fees OR if you must pay the filing fees to start the case by filing the Petition for Guardianship.
Service of Process or Sheriff's Service Fees: $50.00, if needed
You may be required to give notice to a parent or grandparent. The Sheriff's Office will serve the notice. There is a fee for 'service of process.' There is no Paupers Affidavit or way to avoid that fee if you are required by the law to notify the parents, grandparents or the closest living relative.
Background Checks are required for the proposed guardian and every person 18 and older in the household:
Because you will need three (3) different types of background checks, these feees could add up to over $100.
Get your fingerprint cards at your local police or sheriff's department. This will cost between $5 and $10.
The FBI charges $18 for an Identity History Summary check, plus the cost of mailing the fingerprint cards.
The OSBI check will cost $19. Select the Name-Based ($15) and the Violent Offender ($2) and Sex Offender ($2) Searches.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services just released a new form to request the child abuse and neglect information system check. They are estimating up to 4 weeks for processing. There is no cost for this search at this time. Download and print the form and instructions here
FBI Fingerprint-based Identity History Summary:
This page explains the process and has a link to an online form to get you started:
Fill out the form online. You must have an email address that you check regularly. You may receive the results by email or regular postal service mail.
You will get a confirmation email with a special number. You must submit your fingerprints by mail with a copy of the confirmation email and the special number the FBI sends you.
There is an $18 fee for the Summary. You can pay by credit card or online service. Someone may pay the fee for you. There is information on the above web site for you to request the fee to be waived if you cannot afford the fee.
You can also download this form (FBI form) and request the FBI background check by mail. This will take longer, up to 4 weeks. You must have this form and fingerprint cards for the guardian, co-guardian and anyone in the household age 19 and over, to complete this check.
OSBI Background Check Fee:
You must have an OSBI background check for each member of the guardians' household age 18 or older. This also applies to co-guardians and his or her household members.
One form prints with the court forms. This link will open a form:
For more information about the OSBI Criminal History Request Form or to use the automated system online:
You need a money order to send to the OSBI.
Fill in the blank form that will print at the end of the program.
At the top, be sure to mark and pay for these searches:
TYPE OF SEARCH REQUESTED:
- Name Based
- Sex Offender
- Mary Rippy Violent Offender.
Take either the printed or hand written form, along with the money order, and an envelope (with postage) addressed to the OSBI (on the form), along with your other forms, to the Judge when you get the guardianship set for a hearing. You will do this after you file the Petition with the court clerk.
Getting Help with the online program
The online computer program will "ask" questions which will fill in the court forms that must be filed with the court clerk to start a guardianship case.
Please be sure to SIGN UP on the website when you go to the website.SIGN UP as a SELF-HELPER. This will allow you to save all your answers after you enter them. You will be able to print your documents. You will be able to save your answers, but ONLY if you SIGN-UP at the beginning page. You must come back to the program to change or add information. If you lose the paperwork, you can re-print your court papers later.
All of the documents and forms you need will print at the end of the program. If you are printing at a library or other public place, you may have to pay for the printing.
If you are working on a computer and do not have a printer, the program will allow you to save your information and you can go back to it again to create and print the forms from another computer with a printer. You can also save the forms to a thumb or portable drive and print from another computer.
The forms will print in the best format from a computer using Microsoft Word. WordPerfect or WordPad will also work. You may have to do some editing before you print the forms.
Questionnaire to help you gather information to fill out the petition can be found and printed at this link:
Go to back to Prepare Court Forms
SIGN-UP when you get to the LawHelpInteractive website!
You must SIGN-UP to save your answers in case you need to access them again before your hearing.
Click here to go to Prepare Court Forms page