When the Associated Press unveiled a ground-breaking series on the controversies surrounding guardianships in 1987, several states enacted reforms on guardianships.
The Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act was enacted to protect the rights of and welfare of children and incapacitated adults throughout the state of Oklahoma.
Guardianships, however, still can often be highly complex and sensitive legal arrangements, making it all the more important that you consult with an experienced Tulsa guardianship lawyer.
The highly-regarded Tulsa law firm of Fry & Elder understands the urgency and delicacy with which guardianships demand and provides the answers below to some of the more frequently asked questions associated with guardianships involving minors and incapacitated adults.
What Does a Guardianship Entail?
The guardian, appointed by the court, will oversee the care and property of the child or incapacitated adult. The person under the care of the guardian is called a “ward.” A guardian of a minor will help ensure that the child’s daily needs, including medical, clothing and food, are tended to and met.
How is a Guardianship Gained?
Only the court can appoint someone to be a guardian. The process begins with the prospective guardian providing the necessary paperwork, background checks and court fees. Adults can only be designated as wards if they are designated as incapacitated. For an adult to be classified as incapacitated they generally must be:
- Physically incapacitated
- Mentally ill
- Developmentally disabled
It is important to remember and know going into the legal process that a guardianship is never assumed and that the welfare of the ward is put ahead of everything else by the courts. For a more complete and thorough definition of the state of Oklahoma’s definition of an incapacitated person consult Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes (30 O.S. 1-111).
What are the Types of Guardianships in Oklahoma?
Special guardian: Someone who is typically appointed as a guardian because of emergency or high-risk situations. Guardianships of this nature usually do not exceed more than 30 days, but those special guardians may use the time to work toward becoming a court-appointed guardian.
Limited guardian: Someone who has limited power over the ward and or the property of the ward
General guardian: Someone who has been appointed by the court as the guardian of person and their property.
Do I Qualify as a Guardian?
Under Oklahoma state law there is an order of preference in appointing guardians that begins with the parents. However, this is not always in the best interest of the child or adult. Those 14 and older are able to nominate his or her guardian, which usually ranks first on the preference list. As indicated in 30 O.S. 1-111, the rest of the list generally goes as follows:
- The current guardian or limited guardian is appointed by a court in another jurisdiction where the incapacitated or partially incapacitated person resides;
- The person nominated by the will or other writing of a deceased parent, spouse or adult child that was serving as the guardian or limited guardian of the subject of the proceeding;
- the spouse of the subject of the proceeding;
- an adult child;
- a parent;
- a sibling;
- a person, approved by the court, with whom the subject of the guardianship was living for more than six (6) months.
Why the need for an Experienced Tulsa Guardianship Lawyer?
As the above text conveys, Oklahoma guardianships can be complex in nature. They require the insight and knowledge of a proven Tulsa guardianship lawyer who is familiar with the process.
Fry & Elder’s Luke Barteaux focuses much of his practice on guardianships and has had a decorated career trying cases in front of both juries and the bench.
Additionally, Barteaux became the first and only Fry & Elder attorney to be sworn in as judge when he was appointed Cherokee Nation District Court Judge in 2017.
A Tulsa Law Firm Which Cares and Fights for Clients
Whether you seek legal consultation with a proven Tulsa guardianship lawyer, a family law or immigration law attorney, Fry & Elder has the team in place to help you successfully navigate through the legal process.
The firm has been named to the elite U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms List every year since 2014 and includes the following acclaimed Tulsa attorneys:
- A 2018 Best Lawyers® Selection
- One of only 19 attorneys in the state to be a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
- Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year for Family Law in Oklahoma 2016
- Four attorneys recognized by Super Lawyers®
- Three attorneys AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- A Cherokee Nation District Court Judge
- The 2018 Fern Holland Award Winner
- A 2017 OBA Earl Sneed Award Recipient
- The 2018 Tulsa County Bar Association Family Law Section Chair
- A 2017 Significant Sig Award Winner
Contact Fry & Elder today to set up a personal consultation with a knowledgeable Tulsa guardianship lawyer.