The Ins And Outs Of Guardianship

WINSTON COUNTY, Miss.(WCBI) – It happens far too often; children in Mississippi removed from their homes.

Some end up with relatives, others in foster care.

For family members, the road to custody can be long and confusing.

Judges and family lawyers will tell you they really want to keep families together.

Sometimes, and despite everyone’s efforts, that doesn’t happen.

Here’s what extended family needs to know.

“That’s the main thing the pole star main consideration of all custody matters is what is in the best interest of the child,”said  Retired Attorney Steve Wright.

The people who came to the Family Law Clinic want that too. This chance to talk one on one with a lawyer is hosted by The Family Resource Center of Northeast Mississippi.

” We provide them legal consultation and in some cases we may provide drafted documents to help them get their cases filed in court and then we give them instructions on what they need to do to represent themselves,”said Mississippi Volunteer Lawyer Project Executive Director Gayla Carpenter’Sanders.

Including the area of guardianship.

“Guardianship have been very critical. We have a lot of children who need to get enrolled in school but they may not have their mother or father present in a capacity to do for them. We’ve had grandmothers, we’ve had aunts, we’ve have uncles to just step in to come and provide that support for them,”said Carpenter’Sanders.

The experts will tell you it doesn’t take much for a parent to lose custody or guardianship of a child.

“If a court determines that the child’s best interest would be served by taking them from a natural parents. Maybe the child would be in danger if they remain in that particular situation or the natural parent is just not prepared to be able to care for the child,”said Wright.

“Some of these guardianship cases the parents may not have lost custody it may be a situation where the parent feels they don’t have stable home environment for them or they may be incarcerated and someone needs to raise this child for them until they get back on their feet. That’s why the grandparents aunts and uncles are other relatives will step in and do it. It’s usually , Maybe incarceration it may be a lack of employment it just it could be a mental illness it could be different things for different families”said Carpenter’Sanders.

Now the expert says these family law clinics are not only helpful to the people who attend but they’re also helpful once you get inside this room.

“Sometimes that can frustrate the process if a litigant is trying to do it on their own but they have not had any guidance from an attorney so they go before the judge and the judge is not in a capacity to direct them and give them legal advice. The only thing they can do is tell them this paperwork is not correct and this is what you need”

Today’s clinic was offered free of charge, on a first come, first serve basis.

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