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New Law Makes It More Difficult to End a Guardianship over a Minor

Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid LSC Funded

New Law Makes It More Difficult to End a Guardianship over a Minor

 

A recent change in the law creates a new hurdle to end a guardianship for a minor child. The change in the law only applies to guardianships started because of a Child In Need of Assistance (CINA) action. During the course of a CINA action, the court sometimes enters an order placing a child in the guardianship of a non-parent. In 2010, the law was changed to allow the CINA (juvenile) court to enter the guardianship order in the CINA action, close the CINA proceeding and then let the guardianship court decide what is best for the child. 
 
This information is not a substitute for legal adviceBefore the change in the law, a parent could file a petition to end a guardianship of his or her child. Then the guardian had to prove that the guardianship was still necessary, that the parents were not fit or suitable to care for their child and that it was not in the best interest of the child to be returned to the parent. The new law, however, changes the normal parental preference and also changes who has the burden of proof. The parent, not the guardian, now has to prove it is in the best interest of the child to live with the parent. The change in the law means the court cannot presume it is best for the child to live with his or her parent instead of the guardian. Shifting the burden of proof to the parent and removing the parental preference may make it very difficult for parents to end guardianships over their child.
 
It is important to know that this change only applies to guardianships started as a result of a CINA order. In other minor guardianships, the guardian still has to overcome the parental preference and prove it is best for the child to not be with the parent. 
 
Last Review 8/27/12
Last Review and Update: Aug 27, 2012
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