MINOR GUARDIANSHIP (UGA Title 11)
The legislature recognizes that people with incapacities have unique abilities and needs, and that some people with incapacities cannot exercise their rights or provide for their basic needs without the help of a guardian. However, their liberty and autonomy should be restricted through the guardianship process only to the minimum extent necessary to adequately provide for their own health or safety, or to adequately manage their financial affairs. RCW Chapter 11.88.005.Is a Guardianship needed?
The Washington State Courts Guardianship Portal provides Resources to help you understand the Guardianship process and the roles and duties of a Guardian. Please note that this information is not legal advice and that processes may vary by county.
Guardianship is a legal arrangement created when a court appoints someone to make decisions and take actions for someone else. Under RCW 11.130, a court can appoint a guardian for a minor who does not have a guardian under the following circumstances.
- Appointing a guardian is in the best interests of a minor, and
- One of the following is true:
- Each parent of the minor agrees after being informed about what a guardianship means; or
- All parent rights have been terminated; or
- There is a clear and convincing evidence that no parent of the minor is willing or able to exercise parenting functions as defined in RCW 26.09.004.
At this time, the current law regarding Non-Parental Custody, RCW 26.10, has been repealed (no longer in effect) as of January 1, 2021.
Final orders in Non-Parental Custody cases: As of January 1, 2021, any final orders will remain in full force and effect, but after that date any changes will need to be made under the new statute for Minor Guardianships: RCW 11.130.185 to RCW 11.130.260.
Motions and orders to convert Non-Parental Custody cases to a Minor Guardianship case; Forms to begin Title 11 Guardianship and to complete the matter can be found here.
All other Guardianship matters may be found here.
Pending Non-Parental Custody cases: Pending matters are those matters that have filed, but final orders have not been entered. Any pending cases filed under RCW 26.10 by December 31, 2021 must be resolved by June 30, 2021. Cases may be resolved by the entry of default orders, if appropriate, the entry of agreed orders with all parties, or by trial. Pending Non-Parental Custody cases may also be converted to Minor Guardianships.
Case Schedule for Minor & Standby Guardianship Cases
Each Minor Guardianship and Standby Guardianship case will receive an order setting case schedule at filing. All parties must comply with the case schedule and deadlines as set forth in the order, penalties may be imposed for non-compliance. If there are any discrepancies between the information contained on this webpage and that in the order setting case schedule, the order shall prevail.
The Petitioner must serve a copy of this Order Setting Minor Guardianship Case Schedule on each person entitled to notice pursuant to RCW 11.130.195(1)(a)(i)-(iv), along with the summons and petition. If service of the summons and petition has already occurred, service must be made within 5 court days of filing the case. If any respondent is served by publication, the Petitioner must have this Order Setting Minor Guardianship Case Schedule mailed or served upon the respondent within 5 days of the respondent filing a response or notice of appearance.
The following timelines apply to Minor Guardianship and Standby Guardianship cases:
Judicial Information Background Check Coversheet (SCLSPR 98.16(e)(2)) Must be filed with the Petition
Order for Child Abuse and Neglect Check (SCLSPR 98.16(e)(3)) Must be obtained within 14 days after filing
File and Serve Washington State Patrol background check (SCLSPR Must be completed within 14 days after filing
File Proof of Service of Summons, Petition, Supplemental Declaration and Case Schedule (SCLSPR 98.16(e)(7))
Must be completed within 90 days after filing. If this is not completed, the case will be administratively dismissed.
In addition to the above deadlines, the following court-confirmed hearings will be set at filing:
Hearing Date of Hearing Nature of Hearing
60 day UGA This court-confirmed hearing will be scheduled 60 The Court will review the status of
Review Hearing days or more after filing on the first available Minor the case, and consider any motions,
Guardianship Calendar. including default, and the appointment
of a court visitor or guardian ad litem as well as the application of ICWA.
UGA Non-Jury Trial This court-confirmed trial will be scheduled 180 days The court will commence trial to or more after filing on the first available Tuesday, resolve the Minor Guardianship Wednesday or Thursday Trial Calendar. Guardianship or Standby Guardianship case. This trial will be stricken by the court if final orders are entered prior to this date.