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How do I obtain guardianship of my disabled child prior to her turning 18?

Saint Petersburg, FL |

My 17 year old daughter has a borderline IQ of 72 and is severely mentally disturbed. She is unable to care for herself, make rational decisions, understand money or to be left unsupervised. She is anxiously anticipating "becoming an adult" so she can do whatever she wants, drive a car (yikes!) etc. Unfortunately, she will always need contant care and supervision. What steps do I need to take to ensure that I remain her guardian once she is an adult?

Attorney Answers 1


You will need medical testimony concerning her disability and that she is not capable of managing her own affairs because of her condition. Generally a 'borderline' IQ is not in and of itself enough -- you need testimony from a professional that her disabilities prevent her from managing her affairs.

Once you have that, you will need to petition the local probate court for guardianship and conservatorship ideally BEFORE her 18th birthday so the orders can take effect upon her turning 18.

There will likely need to be a hearing, and the Court may appoint a 'guardian ad litem' to represent your daughter at that hearing, so you need to start this process as soon as possible to insure you've got enough time to complete it before her birthday.

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