Standby Guardianship - New Hampshire

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Who Can Nominate a Standby Guardian

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 463:5; 463:10

Any person may nominate a guardian of the person's minor child in a will, by petition, or by written consent to a petition by another. The probate judge may, for cause, refuse to appoint a person so nominated.

A minor who is age 14 or older, or any person or authorized agency interested in the welfare of the minor, may petition for appointment of a guardian.

The court may appoint as guardian for the minor any person or authorized agency whose appointment is appropriate. No person, authorized agency, or entity shall be appointed guardian of the minor unless the person, authorized agency, or entity receives written notice of the proceedings and consents in writing to the appointment.

If a parent's substance abuse or dependence is the basis for the guardianship petition, the court shall give a preference to any grandparent of the minor who seeks appointment as guardian for the minor.

How to Establish a Standby Guardian

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 463:5

The petition to establish guardianship shall:

  • Specify the name, age, address, and occupation of the proposed guardian and the relationship of the proposed guardian to the minor
  • Specify the name and date of birth of the minor
  • State that the appointment is in the best interests of the minor

The petition shall set forth, so far as is known to the petitioner:

  • Alternate names and addresses of the minor, the names and addresses of the parents of the minor, any person or persons alleged to have had the principal care and custody of the minor during the 60 days preceding the filing of the petition, and any person named as testamentary guardian of the minor in the will of a deceased parent
  • The existence of any pending adoption, juvenile proceedings, or other pending proceedings affecting the minor or the parents of the minor, including, but not limited to, domestic violence, marriage dissolution, domestic relations, paternity, legitimation, custody, or other similar proceeding
  • Whether guardianship is being sought by the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the permanent plan for a child in the department's custody
  • Whether an adoption of the minor by the proposed guardian is contemplated

The petition shall include a statement describing specific facts concerning actions or omissions or actual occurrences involving the minor that are claimed to demonstrate that the guardianship is in the best interests of the minor.

How Standby Authority is Activated

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 463:5; 463:18

In all guardianships of the person, except when an agency or institution is named as the proposed guardian, the court shall review the proposed guardian's record of criminal convictions maintained by the Division of State Police and any record of founded complaints of child abuse or neglect by the proposed guardian in the child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the department.

The petitioner shall file releases provided by the court and signed by the proposed guardian authorizing the release of any record of criminal convictions and a search of the abuse and neglect registry. The court may, in its discretion, accept a petition without the signed releases and may appoint a guardian prior to receiving the proposed guardian's record of criminal convictions or the results of the search of the abuse and neglect registry or both. When the court appoints a guardian prior to the receipt of the records, the court shall review the records upon their receipt and may reexamine the appointment of the guardian based on the information contained in the records. The court may, in its discretion, request the same information from similar agencies in other States as appropriate.

If the petition for guardianship was filed by the minor's grandparent, the court shall provide the grandparent with a brochure, prepared by the department, describing potential benefits for which a child under guardianship may be eligible through the State of New Hampshire. The department also shall post such information on the department's website.

By accepting appointment as guardian, a guardian submits personally to the jurisdiction of the court in any proceeding relating to the guardianship that may be instituted by any interested person.

Involvement of the Noncustodial Parent

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Authority Relationship of the Parent and the Standby

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Withdrawing Guardianship

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 463:14

Any person appointed as guardian shall serve until resignation accepted by the court, removal by the court for cause, death of the guardian, or termination of the guardianship pursuant to this section. Any person interested in the welfare of the minor may petition for the removal of the guardian for cause.

A guardian desiring to resign shall request court approval of such resignation in writing. Resignation of a guardian is not effective until accepted by the court and until a successor guardian is appointed or the guardianship is terminated.

The resignation, removal, or death of the guardian shall not terminate the guardianship, unless expressly so ordered by the court. If the guardianship is not terminated by order of the court, the court shall appoint a successor guardian. The resignation accepted by the court, removal, death of the guardian, or termination of the guardianship shall terminate the authority of the guardian but shall not release the guardian from responsibility for any act or omission occurring during the period of the guardian's appointment.