Minor guardianship

General information

Minor guardianship is for custody of children under age 18 who are not yours. It replaces the former process of non-parent custody.

There are two main tracks in Minor Guardianship: an Emergency Minor Guardianship Case or a Minor Guardianship case. Many people may need to file both to obtain the relief they need.

An Emergency Minor Guardianship case can be filed at the same time as a Minor Guardianship case, or it can be filed first and then followed by a Minor Guardianship case. An Emergency Minor Guardianship case may be used if short-term court orders are needed for the child or a court order is needed right away. The court may use an Emergency Minor Guardianship Order to place the children with a guardian while the Minor Guardianship case moves forward.

Forms and instructions

Steps and forms to file both Emergency Minor Guardianship and Minor Guardianship:

Forms to file a minor guardianship case:

Instructions and forms to file a minor guardianship case:

Instructions and forms to respond to a minor guardianship case:

Additional resources

Washington LawHelp has additional information about minor guardianship cases that might be helpful.

Information about the change from non-parent custody to minor guardianship:

If you are raising a child of another family member or a family friend, (i.e., providing 'kinship care'), some support and services are available from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. If you are a kinship caregiver taking care of a relative's child, Washington LawHelp has information about how to get health care for that child.