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My aunt filed for guardianship of my daughter, I contested it and hired an attorney to represent me. He wanted $1500 and I paid him in full.

We went through the hearing that included the most ridiculous testimony of my cousin that I haven't spoken to in years who testified how I behaved when I was 13 years old. My attorney then he questioned how her health was, I never told him anything about her.

My aunt carried on about a report from development a health on ferrets and he never objected or asked for this report she was claiming she had.

Then the judge said he knew I contested but since my attorney didn't file a motion to terminate or change guardianship he had no choice but to give my aunt guardianship.

I am a single mom who just paid $1,500 and I'm broke. Can I file these motions or petitions myself? What is the next step to take and is there anything online that gives me any idea how to take those steps?

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    If I were you I'd look into suing the attorney you hired for malpractice. – phoog Apr 7 '18 at 11:55
  • This is not a request for legal advice. The question gives some background information to provide context, but its topic is procedural: can I file these motions or petitions myself? – phoog Apr 7 '18 at 12:00
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You can file any legal paperwork yourself: there is no requirement that requires you to hire an attorney. The reason to hire an attorney is that he knows the answer to the "how to" and "what" questions (which is no guarantee that he will do it right, or at all). As for finding DIY advice, to some extent that depends on your state and county. A court may be very helpful and provide links, guides and paperwork online, or they may be very hands-off saying "we don't give legal advice".

I assume your daughter is an adult: you could start with an elementary Google search, which will give you a number of possibly useful pages, The first of these points to the primary steps of creating a case, serving (delivering) notices to relevant people, and having a hearing. It is tailored to Clark County NV: if you are in Maricopa County AZ, their courts have different forms. These pages have lots of information as well as forms, and it is likely that a lot of the information will be the same. Some of these results may be pretty technical and longish-winded, such as this paper hosted by the ABA, on contested and interstate guardianships, which contains an important nugget:

While the rules of evidence may be relaxed in uncontested guardianship matters, adherence to the rules may be required in contested guardianship matters, especially those cases that are tried before a jury. Armed with a working knowledge of the rules of evidence, you can object to the admissibility of evidence where appropriate and be ready to defend objections from your opponent.

Probably the most important thing to know is that the court isn't looking out for your interests or the aunt's interests, it is looking out for your daughter's interests, and you and your aunt both need to prove that you're the best person to protect your daughter's interests.

I'd say that the next step should be to get a better attorney.

  • I would love to hire an attorney but I'm a single mom with bills and spent all my money on this attorney. I can't believe this happened. Why didn't the judge say something to him. This is completely new to me. I don't even know the first form I needs name. But thank you for your time – jynx douglas Apr 8 '18 at 4:09
  • Also I am in Iowa. The thing is my mother passed away without a will so I am the beneficiary. Without me knowing about the laws, this aunt went and petitioned the courts to become administrator. This is the woman that left the hospital immediately from the hospital , went straight to my mothers home and drove of with her car. – jynx douglas Apr 8 '18 at 4:39
  • Then she came to me and offered to buy it and I said she needed to put it back and asked her a couple more to return it and began to ask more questions and then that is when she started making my life miserable, lying, texting people I go to church with about me. She also is the person who counted all the money in the cards at my moms funeral of which ive never received or been given an answer when I asked her what happened to it or how much there was I believe she did this guardianship nonsense as a distraction. I'm a good mother, I can't believe this has gone this far. Its unreal – jynx douglas Apr 8 '18 at 4:39
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Then the judge said he knew I contested but since my attorney didn't file a motion to terminate or change guardianship he had no choice but to give my aunt guardianship.

I am a single mom who just paid $1,500 and I'm broke.

It sounds like your attorney screwed up. This is not too surprising, as a contest of a guardianship would normally cost $6,000 to $18,000 to litigate a dispute like this properly, although that is no excuse for doing a poor job by making a mistake in failing to file the right legal forms. (A fee of $1,500 would be about right for an uncontested petition to change your own name, a much simpler case.)

(It is also, realistically, not cost effective to sue for malpractice, although you might grieve the lawyer with the bar association even though that will not provide you personally with any relief.)

Can I file these motions or petitions myself? What is the next step to take and is there anything online that gives me any idea how to take those steps?

While you can, it verges on futile at this point, especially if you try to do it yourself.

In the initial hearing, you might have been on something approaching a level playing field. Now, to prevail, you are very likely going to have to show that the aunt did something really horrible at sometime after the most recent hearing.

Your lawyer screwed up and in all likelihood you will not be able to overcome that screw up without the assistance of a lawyer specializing in protective proceedings, if it is possible at all. If this happened very recently (e.g. the last 14 days) it may be possible to correct the mistake with a motion to reconsider, but it will take a lawyer for you to have a prayer of success. But, a judge is very unlikely to reconsider the case after so recently denying you relief without some case law exactly on point and an argument carefully tailored to that particular judge, even if that denial was due to a screw up by your lawyer. Since you can't afford that, you are basically stuck.

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