Request a Consultation
Offering Phone, Video, and In-Person Consultations 608-784-8310

Are There Different Levels of Guardianship in Wisconsin?

Children under the age of 18 require a parent or guardian to take care of them. While parents usually care for their children, there are times when that is not possible. In some situations, a guardian must be appointed for minor children when a parent is unable, unfit, or unwilling to do so. The court may review a case and make a determination regarding guardianship. A judge may order a guardian to care for a child on a temporary or permanent basis. Guardianship is also available for adults in some cases.

Types of Minor Guardianship

The court must determine and assign guardianship for a minor child based on a number of factors. The judge will always evaluate the options and make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. There are four main types of minor guardianship in Wisconsin.

Emergency Guardianship

Emergency guardianship is needed in situations where a child requires immediate care while away from a parent. Emergency guardianship or custody is designed only for instances where short-term guardianship is needed. An example of emergency guardianship might be when a parent has a medical emergency and is unable to handle parenting responsibilities for a short time. Emergency guardianship lasts up to 60 days.

Temporary Guardianship

Temporary guardianship is possible when a guardian is needed only for a short period of time. Temporary guardianship lasts up to 180 days. However, it may be extended to allow an additional 180 days if the circumstances warrant. Temporary guardianship may be requested for situations where a parent will be unable to care for a child, such as when they are in rehabilitation or incarcerated, as well as for many other situations.

Limited Guardianship

Limited guardianship provides for guardianship with limited custodial responsibilities. In this type of guardianship, the parents keep some portion of responsibility over the child and may be allowed to make certain types of decisions on their behalf. Limited guardianship may be ordered, for example, when a parent is working towards reestablishing their parental rights. This type of guardianship generally lasts no longer than six months.

Full Guardianship

Full guardianship is also sometimes called permanent guardianship. In order to be granted full guardianship, the parent or parents must be deemed unfit or are unable or unwilling to take care of their parenting responsibilities. Full guardianship will end when the child turns 18 or when the court orders an end to guardianship. With this type of guardianship, the appointed guardian is granted full responsibility for the child and basically takes over for the parents on a permanent basis.

How to File for Guardianship in Wisconsin

To file for guardianship in Wisconsin, you must file a petition with the court. Depending on the type of guardianship you request, you will file JN-1501 or JN-1504 guardianship forms. The court will set a hearing date, typically within 45 days of the request or on an emergency basis in the case of an emergency guardianship request. The judge will make a final determination to approve or deny a guardianship request.

It is helpful to seek guidance from a knowledgeable attorney before you file for guardianship. Contact our experienced legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online to schedule a consultation.

Published April 29, 2024
Posted in
Contact MSM Online Bill Pay