Full Guardianship for Minors

Filing Procedures

  • Note: The Court is prohibited by law (Sec. 1211 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code [EPIC]) from providing legal advice and completing forms. This item provides general information concerning the filing procedures for full minor guardianships and may be useful as a guide. If you have any questions, consider contacting an attorney for assistance.
  • Filing Fee: $150 per child (Plus $12 for letters of Guardianship after the hearing)
    • Note: This fee may be waived if the person filing for Guardianship can show they are indigent.
  • Forms Used:

The minor who needs a guardian must either be a resident of Muskegon County or be living with someone in Muskegon County at the time the petition is filed with the Court. If the minor is at least 14 years of age, the minor must also sign his/her consent to the guardianship.

The minor must be in need of a guardian because the parental rights of both parents or the surviving parent have been terminated or the parent(s) have permitted the minor to reside with another person and have not provided that other person with the legal authority for the care and maintenance of the minor.

Family Court Matters

If there is a Family Court matter pending this guardianship will be assigned to that Court and filed on the 6th Floor Circuit court Records.

The proposed guardian(s) must be present for the hearing. A Guardian ad Litem must be appointed to represent any minor parent.

Service Publication

Service Publication is required for persons whose address or whereabouts are unknown. You may wish to contact:

Norton-Lakeshore Examiner
950 W Norton Avenue, Suite 402
P.O. Box 357
Muskegon, MI 49443
Phone: 231-739-6397
Fax: 231-737-1520
Friday noon deadline / publish on Wednesdays

Muskegon County Legal News
950 W Norton Avenue, Suite 402
P.O. Box 357
Muskegon, MI 49443
Phone: 231-739-6397
Fax: 231-737-1520
Wednesday noon deadline / publish on Mondays

The Muskegon Chronicle
981 Third Street, 2nd Floor
Display / Advertising Department
Muskegon, MI 49442
Phone: 231-726-3200
Fax: 231-726-3434

The White Lake Beacon
432 E Spring
P.O. BOX 98
Whitehall, MI 49461
Phone: 231-894-5356
Fax: 231-894-2174
Thursday at 1 p.m. deadline / publish on Sundays

Interested Persons

The interested persons need to be listed on the petition, along with their proper address. If an interested person is not included or is not properly served, the hearing cannot be held. The interested persons in a petition for appointment of a full guardian of a minor are:

  • The minor, if 14 years of age or older
  • If known, each person who had the principal care and custody of the minor during the 63 days before the petition was filed
  • The parents of the minor or, if neither of them is living, any grandparents and the adult presumptive heirs of the minor
  • The nominated guardian

In guardianship cases, if a party is incarcerated under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Corrections, their name, address, and prisoner number must be listed on the petition to obtain this information, call 517-373-0284.

When Full Minor Guardian Can Be Appointed

A full guardian can be appointed for a minor under one of these situations:

  • Parental rights of both parents or surviving parent have been terminated or suspended by prior court order, judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, death, adjudication of mental incompetency, disappearance, or imprisonment.
  • Parent(s) have permitted the minor to reside with another person and have not provided the other person with legal authority for the minor’s care and maintenance and the minor is not residing with their parent(s) when the petition is filed.
  • Minor’s biological parents have never been married to each other, the custodial parent dies or is missing and the other parent has not been given legal custody, and the nominated guardian is related to the minor within the fifth (5th) degree by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Hearing Date

Your Petition will be set for hearing by the Court. Typically, the hearing date is 6 to 8 weeks after the petition is filed. You must attend the hearing or your Petition will be dismissed.

Home Study

The Court may appoint an individual to investigate the situation and make a recommendation to the Court prior to the hearing. This person is not an employee of the Court but a licensed social worker assigned by the Court. There is a $60 charge for the Home Study.