Guardianship Disputes: What Decisions Can the Court Make?

When the court appoints a guardian, disputes can arise between the ward, the guardian, friends, or family members. If you disagree about who the guardian should be or if a guardian is necessary in the first place, having a lawyer on your side can help you navigate the guardianship petition or appointment.

Why Would a Friend or Family Member Dispute a Guardianship Appointment?

A friend or family member who knows the incapacitated or incompetent person may dispute a guardianship petition or appointment before or after the court appoints a legal guardian. Some reasons an interested party may dispute another’s petition or appointment for guardianship include:

  • They don’t believe the person qualifies for guardianship as an incompetent or incapacitated person.
  • They believe another person would make a better guardian than the petitioner’s recommendation.
  • They believe the guardian has failed in their duties to provide adequate or appropriate decisions for the ward.
  • The guardian only acted as a child representative for a minor ward; the ward is now legally an adult.

If you feel that another petitioner cannot fulfill the role of guardian for a friend or family member or that an appointed guardian isn’t performing their duties, you have the right to initiate proceedings to deter or remove an appointment in guardianship disputes in Raleigh.

What Decisions Can the Court Make During Guardianship Litigation?

You have three options to file against a guardian after the appointment. If you don’t believe a guardian is the best fit for guardianship of an incompetent adult or dependent child, you can file a:

  • Motion to Set Aside the Order. This is essentially a re-do for the court to appoint a different guardian if the first guardian obtained the order through fraud, misconduct, misrepresentation, or other reasoning. You must file within a reasonable period shortly after the court appoints the guardian.
  • Motion to Remove or Replace the Guardian. If you believe that the guardian has failed to perform their duties, mismanaged their duties as guardian, or is unsuitable as a guardian, you may petition the court to remove or replace the guardian. You may make a new recommendation for a guardian you feel is better suited.
  • Motion to End Guardianship. If a dependent child ages out of guardianship or an incapacitated person becomes capable of a greater degree of decision-making, they may no longer require a guardian.

An experienced attorney who understands North Carolina guardianship laws can help you organize your motion and file it with the court.

Can a Ward Petition for Removal of the Guardian?

Because a court already deemed them legally incompetent, an incapacitated or incompetent adult ward cannot petition for their removal of a guardian. Instead, a friend or family member must file the appropriate petitions and documentation to remove the guardian on behalf of their loved one.

Other Solutions to a Guardianship Dispute

The Family Services division of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) might be able to provide access to interest-based mediation services to help guardians and other parties agree with turning to guardianship litigation.

Contact an Experienced Guardianship Dispute Attorney in Raleigh, NC

For help with guardianship disputes in Raleigh, NC, turn to our knowledgeable team at Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC. We have helped generations of families plan for incapacity, dispute guardianship appointments, and advocate for guardian and incapacitated people’s rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.