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dadpapa1

Guardianship

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My former wife passed away in august 2012, her father obtained legal guardianship with out me being notified by the court, i found it online, my son who is 14 is living with the former fiance of my former wife, my son asked to leave it this way and i did but now i am petitioning the court to stop the guardianship, my son signed legal papers to give the grandfather legal guardianship and my child support was redirected to the legal guardian. We live in Iowa, what are my rights and should have i been notified of this so there could have been a hearing. I feel like my parental rights were violated. In the last will and testament my former wife gave guardianship to her father in the event of her passing, does the will have any revelance in court.

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Legal guardianship cannot be conveyed in a will. Your former wife could nominate a guardian, but the decision to award the guardianship lies only with the court. Why you were not served notice of the action I can't say, but now that you have filed a petition to have the guardianship terminated it really doesn't matter. Whether the court will transfer custody to you or leave things as they are -- at least for now -- depends largely on the nature of your own relatinship with your son. Do you have regular visits of reasonable frequency and duration? How far away from him are you located? The fact that you learned of his situation on line suggests that you are not particularly close. Your parental rights trump everyone else's, but the court will not immediately uproot him and send him far away to live with a comparative stranger without a compelling reason. Be prepared to put up with a period of transition. I strongly suggest you speak with a local family law attorney to find out how Iowa laws and judicial guidelines apply to your particular circumstances.

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should have i been notified of this

Yes. In fact, it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that a court would order a guardianship without believing that you had been notified. I suggest you obtain copies of all documents in the court's file so that you can determine how it is that you were supposedly notified of the proceeding. Then consult with a local attorney to determine what you can do to have the guardianship set aside.

my son signed legal papers to give the grandfather legal guardianship

I'm not sure what he signed, but a minor child has no power to "give" a guardianship over him/herself to another. It is possible that, under Iowa law, a child over a certain age can object to a guardianship and that he merely signed a consent to demonstrate that he did not object.

In the last will and testament my former wife gave guardianship to her father in the event of her passing, does the will have any revelance in court.

Relevance? Probably. In other words, a court deciding whether to award a guardianship over a child may take into consideration the wishes of the child's deceased parent(s) as expressed in a will. However, a parent cannot "give" a guardianship over his/her child to someone else (by will or otherwise). A legal guardianship can only be established by order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

When a divorced custodial parent dies, all custodial right immediately and automatically vest in the surviving parent. This is why I said that the court that awarded the guardianship over your son must have believed that you had been notified of the proceeding in accordance with the law.

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