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Articles Posted in Guardianship

The daughter of the gunman who killed two women at the New Castle County Courthouse is seeking legal guardianship of her three nieces.

The girls’ mother, 39-year-old Christine Belford, was shot to death in the lobby of the courthouse Feb. 11 by her former father-in-law, Thomas Matusiewicz of Edcouch, Texas.

That day, Belford was on her way to attend a child-support hearing opposite ex-husband David, with whom she had three daughters. Matusiewicz also killed Belford’s friend, Laura “Beth” Mulford, before taking his own life.

Amy Gonzalez of Edinburg, Texas, wants to take responsibility for her three nieces, ages 7 to 10. Gonzalez is the younger sister of David Matusiewicz and the only aunt to his three daughters, who are in foster care.

The Delaware Division of Family Services is opposing Gonzalez’s petition, saying she isn’t related to the children and, thus, doesn’t meet requirements for permanent guardianship under Delaware law, according to court records.

Family members usually receive preference when the courts are considering the permanent guardianship of minors in foster care. However, the state is grounding its argument in a Family Court order that, in 2011, terminated the parental rights of the girls’ father, David.

That order followed David’s 2009 conviction on charges that he kidnapped of his three daughters to Central America for a year and a half with the help of his mother, Lenore Matusiewicz. Both David and Lenore served prison time — Lenore following her conviction on three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The day after the February courthouse shooting, a Delaware judge issued a no-contact order against Lenore, now 67, directing her to stay at least 1,000 feet away from her three granddaughters and to have no “direct or indirect” contact with them. David has been in federal custody since the shooting, currently serving a six-month sentence for violating his probation.

When a mother or father loses parental rights to a child, that loss extends to the status of the parent’s blood relatives for the purposes of preference in family court proceedings, said Jason Miller of the state Attorney General’s Office.
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The fate of the infant daughter of pro football player Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend in December before turning the gun on himself at the Kansas City Chiefs’ team facility, will not be decided in a Fort Worth courtroom.

A custody case involving 4-month-old Zoey Belcher was dismissed in 324th District Court. Judge Jerome Hennigan determined that the Texas court is not the proper venue for the case, which potentially involves millions of dollars from the National Football League player’s estate.

Grandparents on both sides of the family are reportedly no longer talking to each other. The child’s maternal grandmother, Rebecca Gonzalez, filed a lawsuit in Fort Worth requesting permanent custody. And the paternal grandmother, Cheryl Shepherd, who is from West Babylon, N.Y., filed a similar action in Missouri.

Not only can an Orange County divorce attorney assist you in your divorce, paternity, child custody, child visitation, domestic violence or annulment issue, but we also assist in guardianship matters.

Generally speaking, the following four scenarios is when a party would consider filing for an Orange County guardianship:

1) Orphans: Orphans or situations in which the biological parents cannot be found would be a grounds to seek guardianship. In this scenario, petitions for guardianship are filed by members of each parent’s family.

I’ve recently blogged about when a guardianship is necessary in Orange County, California. Today, I will summarize the duties of a guardian after the court approves the guardianship.

California Judicial Council Form GC-248 itemizes the duties of a guardian. Briefly, some of the duties are as follows:

1) The guardian of the person of a child has the care, custody and control of the child. The guardian is responsible for providing food, clothing, shelter, education and all the medical and dental needs of the child. The guardian must provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional growth of the child.

Here in Orange County, California, we do not typically hear a lot of news or information regarding guardianships. Living in California, almost everyday we hear about celebrity break ups and divorces. So, today this post is dedicated to assist you in deciding whether you need to file a guardianship. As an example, if a parent of a child dies and the other parent has given up his parental duties (i.e. out of the child’s life), a guardianship will be necessary by a third person.

In emergency situations, a temporary guardian of the person, of the estate or of the person and estate, may be appointed to serve until the final determination on a petition for appointment of a general guardian. The temporary guardian is responsible for providing for the temporary care, maintenance, and support of the minor, and for conserving and protecting the minor’s property from loss or injury.

The following situations are examples in which a temporary guardianship may be appropriate:

In a prior guardianship post, I discussed the instances in which a temporary guardianship may be appropriate.

The court may grant a petition for a temporary guardian only when good cause is shown. Prob Code section 2250(b). Good cause may be found in the following instances:

1. The minor needs immediate medical treatment because of illness or accident, or must be enrolled in school; both parents are dead, absent, incarcerated or incapacitated; and a relative caregiver’s affidavit under Family Code section 6550 is not an option.

Last November, a young mother was hacked to death (on her husband’s orders) for allegedly daring to divorce him. The trial of the attackers and the husband has finally begun. Apparently, the husband, Harpreet Aulakh, offered £5,000 to other Punjabi men after she had started divorce proceedings.

The young mother, Geeta Aulakh, 28, was attacked outside the Greenford home of the babbysitter of her young children. The killers were lying in wait, knowing exactly where she would be and when to strike her on her way home from working as a receptionist at Sunrise Radio. This is clearly a case of premeditated, first degree murder.

It is unfortunate the people will go to the extremes of murder just because someone files for divorce or contemplates the idea of divorce. There are certainly other options such counseling and therapy if one party does not want the divorce. These options enable the couple to work out their difference and discuss the issues with a third party. Sadly, the people who hurt the most in these situations are those children. With their father in custody and their mother dead, the children will likely be subject to a guardianship proceeding to determine who will care for them without their parents.

A new study published yesterday by the Pew Research Center spotlights a family law trend that, until now, had been mainly anecdotal: tough economic times leading to a sharp increase in children being raised by their grandparents.

According to the report, 10% of all American children live with at least one grandparent. The report notes that this figure had been rising slowly for a number of years before spiking in 2007-2008. Moreover, 41% of those children are being raised primarily by a grandparent, and while “this figure – 2.9 million children – rose slowly throughout the decade… it, too, spiked from 2007 to 2008. In that single year, there was a 6% increase,” the report says. The report is based on an analysis of census data carried out by the Center, a non-partisan research institute headquartered in Washington DC.

As the Washington Post notes in an analysis of the report, the economy “is not entirely to blame” for this situation. In some cases grandparents are stepping in where parents are experiencing emotional or medical troubles to ensure that the children are not placed in foster care. Military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan also play a significant role in grandparent-as-parent scenarios.

According to TMZ, the guardianship of Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Courtney Love, expired last Wednesday, August, 18, 2010, when she turned 18 years old. Since December of 2009, Frances Bean was under the temporary guardianship of her paternal grandmother. It’s no secret that Frances’ mother, Courtney Love, has had some drug related problems, thus necessitating the need for a guardianship. Although TMZ is reporting the guardianship expired when Frances turned 18, it is interesting to note that the actual Order Appointing Temporary Guardianship specifies an expiration date of February 10, 2010, 6 months prior to Frances’ 18th birthday. Not so sure why.

At any rate, I previously blogged about the instances of when a guardianship is necessary. I also outlined the duties of a guardian. If you are exploring California guardianship options, contact an Orange County guardianship attorney for more information.

Source: Courtney Love’s Daughter— Free At Last!

Several weeks ago I blogged about the instances when a guardianship petition should be filed with the court. Today, I will summarize the duties of a guardian after the court approves the guardianship.

California Judicial Council Form GC-248 itemizes the duties of a guardian. Briefly, some of the duties are as follows:

1) The guardian of the person of a child has the care, custody and control of the child. The guardian is responsible for providing food, clothing, shelter, education and all the medical and dental needs of the child. The guardian must provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional growth of the child.

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