In general, a guardian is a person with the legal right to make decisions for someone else, known as protected person. A 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 29-3. Rules may be different in every county. Local rules for your Indiana county can be found clicking the resource here.
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 notice in a newspaper according to Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure Rule 4.13. You should also review the statutes on notice Indiana Code 29-3-6-1 and 2.
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. Other information and services available for individuals caring for older adults can be found by clicking the resources here.
Seek help from a lawyer. A lawyer can advise you of all the available options. Browse through our Legal Help organizations to find free and low-cost legal assistance. In the meantime, talk to the school the child should attend. They can give you information on their policies and procedures. Click the resource here to visit the Indiana Department of Education website.
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 about supported decision making, click the resource here.