Kinship Guardianship as a Permanency Option - Northern Mariana Islands

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Definitions

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 8, § 2107(n)

The term 'guardian' means a person who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or incapacitated person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment but excludes one who is merely a guardian ad litem.

Purpose of Guardianship

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

A Guardian's Rights and Responsibilities

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 8, § 1421

A legal guardian appointed by the superior court shall have all the rights and powers, duties, and obligations of a legal guardian of the minor child and shall have a valid and effectual claim of custody of the minor child against every other person claiming custody of the minor child for the duration of the guardianship.

Qualifying the Guardian

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 8, § 1421

The petitioner for guardianship of a minor child must be over age 18 and been a resident of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for 1 year prior to the date of petition.

The court must be satisfied that the living arrangement of the guardian and minor child are suitable. Factors the court may consider in evaluating whether a living arrangement is suitable include, but are not limited to, the size and number of bedrooms of the residence of the petitioner and the number of other minor children or family members living in the residence. The court may order a home study by the Department of Youth Services or a Family Service Division prior to granting a petition under this section.

Procedures for Establishing Guardianship

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 8, § 1421

The court may appoint, for a term or indefinitely subject to review, an adult to serve as a legal guardian of a minor child only after the following conditions are satisfied:

  • A petition is filed with the court by the proposed guardian stating, under penalty of perjury, the names, dates of birth, and residences of the minor child and the proposed guardian, and the names and whereabouts of any surviving natural or legal parents, grandparents, or siblings of the minor child.
  • A statement is affixed to the petition indicating who currently has custody of the minor child and describing the reasons a guardianship is necessary.
  • The affidavits of any surviving natural or legal parents are affixed to the petition, sworn under penalty of perjury, indicating their consent to the guardianship arrangement.
  • An affidavit by the petitioner is affixed to the petition attesting that the guardianship arrangement is not an attempt to avoid or circumvent Commonwealth immigration law.
  • The minor child is not present in the Commonwealth pursuant to a tourist visa.

The court may grant the petition if, after a hearing, it finds that the guardianship arrangement is in the best interests of the child and is not in violation of the law of the Commonwealth.

Contents of a Guardianship Order

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Modification/Revocation of Guardianship

Citation: Commonwealth Code Tit. 8, § 1421

The superior court may, in its discretion, order that a guardianship be reviewed periodically on a schedule set by the court.

The superior court may terminate a guardianship if, upon review, it finds that the guardianship is no longer in the best interests of the minor child. A guardian who has a guardianship terminated shall have all normal avenues of appeal.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Links to Agency Policies

Kinship guardianship is not addressed in agency policy.