Probate Court

Temporary Guardian of a Minor (Full)

It may be necessary at times to appoint a temporary guardian of a minor pending the full hearing. The minor may need immediate medical treatment, a placement decision when several parties may be competing for the custody of the minor or some other matter needing urgent attention requiring a temporary guardian to be in a position to make such decisions. Because of the requirements for notice to interested persons, such a crisis may need to be handled well before the full hearing can be held.

A Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor (PC 651) may include a request that a temporary guardian also be appointed pending the full hearing. A separate petition requesting a temporary guardian may also be filed at any time after the petition requesting a full guardian and before the full hearing. However, MCR 5.403 provides that the court may appoint a temporary guardian only in the course of a proceeding for permanent guardianship.

Once a petition for the appointment of a temporary guardian is received by the probate court, the court will set it for a hearing as soon as the court can accommodate such a hearing. An appointment of a temporary guardian of a minor may only take place after a hearing at which testimony is taken. MCR 5.403(D). Many courts may hold such hearings within a few hours of receiving the petition as MCR 5.403 allows the court to shorten or dispense with notice of hearing for the appointment of a temporary guardian of a minor, except that the minor shall always receive notice if the minor is 14 years of age or older.

If, at any time in the proceedings, the court determines that the interests of the minor are or may be inadequately represented, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the minor, giving consideration to the preference of the minor if the minor is 14 years of age or older.

At the hearing the court will hear testimony from the petitioner and others who may wish to testify. If an attorney has been appointed to represent the interests of the minor, the court will also consider the attorney's recommendations. Before the court can appoint a temporary guardian, it must find by clear and convincing evidence that two things exist. First, it must find that one of the circumstances necessary for guardianship of a minor exist. Second, it must find that good cause was shown for the court to act without full notice to interested persons.

The court appoints a temporary guardian of a minor by signing Order Appointing Guardian/Limited Guardian of a Minor (PC 650) and indicating on the order that the appointment is of a temporary guardian. The temporary guardian will be allowed to qualify by filing an Acceptance of Appointment (PC 571). Once the Acceptance of Appointment is filed, the court will issue Letters of Guardianship (PC 633). The Letters and Order may contain any restrictions that the court wishes to place on the temporary guardian's authority. The court may appoint a temporary for a period not to exceed 6 months.