What does it mean to be a guardian?

In general, a guardian is a person with the legal right to make decisions for someone else, known as a protected personA guardian has  duties under Indiana statutes and local rules.

To be a legal guardian you need an order from the court.  Living with a child or incapacitated adult does not make you their legal guardian without a court order.    

It is always best to get an attorney, and sometimes the court will require you to have an attorney in a guardianship case.  You should review the statutes on guardianship here:  Indiana Code Title 29

Rules may be different in every county.  Local rules for your Indiana county can be found here: Indiana Local Court Rules

Self-help forms to help ask the court for guardianship of a child when all parents and interested persons have consented can be here: Guardianship of minor child when all parents and interested persons have consented  

All living parents need notice.

Both living parents must be told you are asking the court to give you guardianship. Even if a parent has never met the child, you must show the court that you tried to contact them.  If you cannot find them, you will need to publish according to Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure Rule 4.13.  You should review the statute on notice Indiana Code 4-21.5-3-1.

More about guardianships. 

A guardianship is not necessary in every circumstance.  It is best to consult an attorney so that you can explore all options, including supported decision making.

For more information on adult guardianship, click here: Adult Guardianship.  

For enrolling a child in school.

Seek help from a lawyer.  A lawyer can advise you of all the available options. This link might help to connect you to a lawyer in your area: Legal Help Near You

In the meantime, talk to the school the child should attend. They can give you information on their policies and procedures.  This link to the Indiana Department of Education may also be helpful.


Information about how to help an aging loved one. 

You may need legal advice, and legal advice must come from an attorney. It may be most helpful to contact a lawyer that is knowledgeable in elder care.

For more information on adult guardianship, click here: Adult Guardianship.

This link to the Family and Social Services Administration offers additional information on how to care for aging adults.  And Indiana’s INconnect Alliance can help connect you with specific information and services. 

Petition for Guardianship of a Minor When ALL Living Parents And Interested Persons Have Consented


  1. This packet applies if all living parents, and all other interested persons, consent to the guardianship
    • Interested persons include 1. adults the minor has lived with during the past sixty (60) days, and 2. the minor if they are 14 years old or older
  2. Read the instructions.  
  3. Complete and file the forms.  The forms should be filed in the court in the county in which the child lives.  You can also e-file your documents.  Click here to learn more about how to e-file.
  4. You might qualify for a fee waiver.  If you do not qualify you should contact your local court clerk for information on filing costs.