Bresky Law Helps Father Obtain Co-Guardianship of Developmentally Disabled Adult Daughter
Bresky Law recently assisted a father and his trial counsel in obtaining co-guardianship of the father’s developmentally disabled adult daughter over the objections of his ex-wife. Our client’s ex-wife, who is the girl’s mother, filed a petition for guardianship of their daughter without providing notice to our client as required by statute. After learning of the petition, our client filed his own petition asking the court to appoint him as co-guardian. Our client had concerns that his ex-wife would not provide their daughter the level of care she needed. Our client also had concerns that his ex-wife would not use for the daughter’s benefit the daughter’s share of child support, that continued after the daughter reached the age of eighteen pursuant to the parties’ marital settlement agreement.
The court conducted a hearing in the matter. The court heard testimony from our client, his ex-wife, his ex-wife’s mother, and the attorney ad litem appointed for the daughter. Our client’s ex-wife stressed that she had custody of the daughter the majority of the time. She argued that appointment of our client as co-guardian would only complicate matters and make it more difficult for her to care for the daughter. We argued that the interests of our client’s daughter were best served by our client’s appointment as co-guardian because the evidence showed that our client was the parent more concerned with providing the daughter the best care. We stressed that the attorney ad litem recommended co-guardianship.
The court issued an order granting our client’s request to be appointed co-guardian. The court noted the absence of direction in Florida’s statutory or case law concerning priority for appointment of guardian advocates. The court found that both parents, being fit, proper, and qualified to act as guardian, had preference for appointment as guardians advocate under the statute. The court also gave weight to the testimony of the attorney ad litem.
The court ordered that our client and his ex-wife be appointed co-guardians of their daughter. The court’s order specified which of the daughter’s rights were delegated to the co-guardians, and which rights the court removed from the daughter. The court ordered that a special needs trust be established for the daughter’s benefit and ordered the parties to mediate regarding funding the trust from child support or other sources. This ruling allows our client to continue his involvement in making sure his daughter receives a high level of care.
* The decision is not final until disposition of any timely filed motions for rehearing and expiration of the time to appeal.