To consult on a case or to provide feedback on any of the following information, please contact BRYCS at 1-888-572-6500 or info@brycs.org.


Select a state in the form below to see information on that state:

AK – Alaska

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://www.courts.alaska.gov/
Link to Forms: http://www.courts.alaska.gov/guardianship.htm
Resources: All of  the forms, instructions, and a video are here.
Notes: N/A

AL – Alabama

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court or Juvenile Court depending on circumstances
Web Site: http://www.alacourt.gov/
Link to Forms: The  forms are not available online and in some counties, they are not available  at the courts either.  An attorney must  put together a petition.
Resources: Alabama GrandFacts
Notes: In  Montgomery County, a caregiver should petition for guardianship in probate  court only if the child’s parents are dead or their rights have been  terminated.  Otherwise, the case must  go through Juvenile Court.

AR – Arkansas

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Circuit Court, Juvenile Department
Web Site: https://courts.arkansas.gov/circuitcourt/index.cfm
Link to Forms: http://www.arlegalservices.org/minorguardianship
Resources: All the info one needs is here. The packet for a minor takes you to LawHelp Interactive where they walk you through the forms. It includes an online tutorial.
Notes: N/A

AZ – Arizona

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Superior Court
Web Site: http://www.supreme.state.az.us/location/ 
Link to Forms: Each  county Superior Court has their own forms, which can usually be downloaded  from the county Web site.
Resources: AZ Law Help
Notes: N/A

CA – California

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://www.courts.ca.gov/superiorcourts.htm
Link to Forms: http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-guardianship.htm
Resources: Guardianship in CaliforniaAre You Ready to  Become a Guardian? (In multiple languages)
Notes: N/A

CO – Colorado

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: www.courts.state.co.us
Link to Forms: http://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Index.cfm
Resources: Colorado Kinship Care Resource Guide
Notes: N/A

CT – Connecticut

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://www.ctprobate.gov
Link to Forms: http://www.jud.ct.gov/webforms/
Resources: Guidelines for Guardianships of Minors; Kinship  Caregivers
Notes: N/A

DC – District of Columbia

Terminology: Custody
Court: Superior Court, Family Division
Web Site: http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/superior/org_family/main.jsf
Link to Forms: http://www.dcbar.org/for_the_public/legal_information/family/family_court_forms/index.cfm
Resources: N/A
Notes: In DC,  guardianship of minors in probate court is only for estates.

DE – Delaware

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Family Court
Web Site: http://courts.delaware.gov/Family/index.stm
Link to Forms: http://courts.delaware.gov/Family/index.stm
Resources: Permanent Guardianship
Notes: N/A

FL – Florida

Terminology: Guardianship or Custody depending on circumstances
Court: Family Court for Custody or Probate Court for Guardianship depending on the circumstances
Web Site: http://www.flcourts.org/courts/circuit/circuit.shtml 
Link to Forms: Depends  – see “notes.”
Resources: FL Kinship Care Legal Handbook
Notes: Guardianship  and custody in FL is very complicated. The options include: 1)  Informal/physical custody – no legal right to make decisions for child, 2)  Informal/physical custody with power of attorney – basics like enroll in  school, but typically for short duration, not a form of legal custody, 3)  Temporary custody through Family Court – more authority than above, lawyer  helpful, no access to relative caregiver program, no supervision by court, 4)  Guardianship through Probate Court – must have a lawyer, most secure and  permanent relationship available, annual guardianship reports.

A good resource to reach out to: https://www.childrenshome.org/

GA – Georgia

Terminology: Guardianship or Custody depending on circumstances
Court: Probate Court for Guardianship and Juvenile Court for Custody depending on the circumstances
Web Site: http://www.georgiacourts.org/
Link to Forms: www.georgiacourts.org/forms.html
Resources: Appointment of Guardians for Children under Georgia Law
Notes: For  guardianship of a person, both parents must be notified. If either is  deceased, you must furnish the death certificate or other proof of death. If  whereabouts of both parents are unknown, you will need to go to Juvenile  Court.

HI – Hawaii

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Family Court
Web Site: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/courts/family/family_courts.html
Link to Forms: http://www.courts.state.hi.us/self-help/courts/forms/court_forms.html
Resources: Guardianship Facts
Notes: N/A

IA – Iowa

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: District Court
Web Site: http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/District_Courts/#
Link to Forms: The  forms are not available online.
Resources: Iowa  Legal Aid has a number of resources on guardianship including a document  called How to Set Up a Guardianship or Conservatorship.
Notes: N/A

ID – Idaho

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Magistrate Court
Web Site: http://www.isc.idaho.gov/guardianship/guardianship-conservatorship
Link to Forms: Visit your county’s “court assistance office” Web site and the forms can usually be found there.
Resources: BRYCS’ Promising Practice for Ada County Courts
Notes: N/A

IL – Illinois

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Circuit Court
Web Site: http://www.state.il.us/court/CircuitCourt/CircuitCourtJudges/CCC_District.asp
Link to Forms: http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentID=5025 
Resources: Asking for Guardianship of a Child
Notes: Cook  County even has a Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors in the Circuit  Court building.

IN – Indiana

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: This depends on how each county’s system is set up
Web Site: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/  
Link to Forms: http://www.kidsvoicein.org/programs/clci/guardianship/ 
Resources: General Information About Guardianship of a Child; For school related issues, see Relatives as Parents: Answers to Basic Questions; Kids Voice of  Indiana also has many resources for kinship  caregivers
Notes: Guardianship  rules come from state law, but the court you petition in differs by  county.

KS – Kansas

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: District Court
Web Site: http://www.kscourts.org/Districts/ 
Link to Forms: The  courts do not have official forms online, but Kansas Legal Services has a  sample petition to be used by an attorney.   Also, the Judicial Counsel (a volunteer group of lawyers who work with  the Supreme Court) has sample sets of all probate forms, including  guardianships but they are only available to lawyers.
Resources: Guide to Kansas Laws on Guardianship and Conservatorship
Notes: N/A

KY – Kentucky

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Circuit Court, Probate Department
Web Site: http://courts.ky.gov/courts/Pages/CircuitCourt.aspx
Link to Forms: http://courts.ky.gov/RESOURCES/LEGALFORMS/Pages/default.aspx
Resources: Guide to Basic Kentucky Probate Procedures
Notes: N/A

LA – Louisiana

Terminology: Custody
Court: District Court, Civil Division
Web Site: http://www.lasc.org/links.asp#DistrictCourts 
Link to Forms: The  forms are not available online.
Resources: Louisiana Kinship Care Subsidy Program
Notes: N/A

MA – Massachusetts

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate and Family Court
Web Site: http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/index.html
Link to Forms: http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/upc.html
Resources: Guardianship of Minor Children
Notes: N/A

MD – Maryland

Terminology: Guardianship or Custody depending on circumstances
Court: Circuit court
Web Site: http://www.courts.state.md.us/courtsdirectory/index.html
Link to Forms: http://www.mdcourts.gov/family/formsindex.html
Resources: Appointing a GuardianAnne Arundel County Kinship Caregiver Resource  Guide
Notes: In  MD, custody is considered to be more permanent.  Guardianship is more often used when there  is money involved or if there’s an incapacitated adult.

ME – Maine

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://www.maineprobate.net/
Link to Forms: http://www.maineprobate.net/forms.html
Resources: Legal Guide for Maine Grandfamilies
Notes: N/A

MI – Michigan

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://courts.mi.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Link to Forms: http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/Pages/default.aspx
Resources: Michigan State University Kinship Care Resource Center
Notes: N/A

MN – Minnesota

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://mncourts.gov/
Link to Forms: http://www.mncourts.gov/default.aspx?page=513&category=167
Resources: A helpful guide explaining possible legal options related to caring for someone else’s child is Legal Steps: Kinship Caregiver Resource Manual published by the MN Kinship Caregivers Association.
Notes: In a typical refugee situation, caregivers would petition for guardianship through probate court.  Family court determines custody matters when the parents are involved or the case is contested.

MO – Missouri

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Circuit Court, Probate Division
Web Site: http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=321
Link to Forms: The forms are not available online.
Resources: Guardians and Conservators Under Missouri Law
Notes: N/A

MS – Mississippi

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Chancery Court
Web Site: http://courts.ms.gov/trialcourts/chancerycourt/chancerycourt.html
Link to Forms: No sample forms are online, but the MS Volunteer Lawyers Project has sample forms.
Resources: Mississippi Legal Services has some information on guardianship.
Notes: N/A

NC – North Carolina

Terminology: Custody
Court: Civil District Court
Web Site: http://www.nccourts.org/
Link to Forms: There are no standard custody forms in NC.
Resources: Publications from Legal Aid of NC.
Notes: N/A

ND – North Dakota

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: District Court
Web Site: http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/districts/districts.htm
Link to Forms: The forms are not online but can be picked up at the District Court.
Resources: N/A
Notes: N/A

NE – Nebraska

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://court.nol.org/
Link to Forms: The forms are not available online.
Resources: Guardianship/Conservatorship in Nebraska
Notes: N/A

NH – New Hampshire

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Circuit Court, Family Division
Web Site: http://www.nh.gov/judiciary/fdpp/guardianship_of_minors.htm
Link to Forms: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/fdpp/forms/allforms.htm#guardianship
Resources: Raising Your Relative’s Kids: How to Find Help
Notes: N/A

NJ – New Jersey

Terminology: Guardianship or Custody depending on circumstances
Court: Surrogate Court for Guardianship and Family Court for Custody
Web Site: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/
Link to Forms: The forms are not available online.
Resources: Information about guardianship and custody in NJ
Notes: Guardianship/surrogate court is most appropriate for those who can show their parents are deceased.  For most refugee cases, the family court/custody route is more appropriate.  NJ has “kinship legal guardianship” and a Kinship Navigator Program, but the child has to have been living with the caregiver for over a year to do that.

NM – New Mexico

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: District Court/Probate Division
Web Site: http://www.nmcourts.gov/othercourts.php
Link to Forms: http://www.nmadvocacy.org/home/node/5
Resources: NM Guardianship ProjectPegasus Legal Services for Children
Notes: N/A

NV – Nevada

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Family Court
Web Site: http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/district
Link to Forms: http://www.nevadalegalforms.info/php/main.php
Resources: Clark County Self Help
Notes: N/A

NY – New York

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Family Court or Surrogate Court (must go here if property is involved)
Web Site: http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/
Link to Forms: http://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/forms.html
Resources: Becoming a Legal Guardian in NY StateNew York Court Help Web site
Notes: N/A

OH – Ohio

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://www.ohiocourtlinks.org/
Link to Forms: Most probate courts (Cuyahoga, Franklin, etc.) have their guardianship forms online.
Resources: Franklin County has a video on guardianship
Notes: N/A

OK – Oklahoma

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://www.tulsacountydistrictcourt.org/probate.htmlhttp://www.oklahomacounty.org/courtclerk/Probate.aspx
Link to Forms: http://www.oklaw.org/link.cfm?2774
Resources: Checklist and Things to Know-Guardianship of a Child Using Automated Documents Online and Guardianship of a Child (Minor)
Notes: N/A

OR – Oregon

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/
Link to Forms: Some counties have their forms online, but Multnomah County does not yet.  Petitioners can pick up the packet of forms at the court.
Resources: Guardianships for Children
Notes: N/A

PA – Pennsylvania

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Court of Common Pleas, Family Division
Web Site: http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/
Link to Forms: Law Help Interactive helps you put together a Petition for Guardianship of Minor Children for Pennsylvania and has an online tutorial.
Resources: Information on guardianship for Erie County
Notes: From PAlawhelp.org: In PA, guardianship is for people who have children in their care, but are NOT the parents of the children. Guardianship is appropriate when the parents of the children are no longer available or able to care for the children, such as when the parents are dead or missing, or have serious drug, alcohol, or mental problems.  In PA, custody cases involve the parents of the child.

RI – Rhode Island

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Probate Court
Web Site: http://sos.ri.gov/library/probate/probatecontacts.php
Link to Forms: http://www.sec.state.ri.us/library/probateforms/probate-index.html/
Resources: Grandparents and Other Relative Caregivers in RI
Notes: N/A

SC – South Carolina

Terminology: Custody
Court: Family Court
Web Site: http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/
Link to Forms: There are no forms; petitioners must seek legal counsel.
Resources: Frequently Asked Questions in SC Family Courts
Notes: N/A

SD – South Dakota

Terminology: Guardianship
Court: Circuit Court
Web Site: http://www.sdjudicial.com/Circuit_Court/default.aspx
Link to Forms: There are no forms available online.
Resources: N/A
Notes: N/A

TN – Tennessee

Terminology: Custody
Court: Juvenile Court
Web Site: http://www.tncourts.gov/courts/juvenile-family-courts
Link to Forms: Davidson county: The forms aren’t online, you pick them up at the court; Shelby County (Memphis) forms
Resources: How to File for Custody of a Child
Notes: N/A