Guardianship for Children During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Crisis

Last Updated On: 3/31/2020 12:16:46 AM

I am providing care for a grandchild (or other relative) and I need to file for guardianship. Can I file for guardianship during the Governor’s Stay at Home Order

You may still be able to file for infant guardianship while the Courts and Courthouses are closed. Emergency proceedings to protect the immediate health or safety of a person will still be held during the closure of the Courts.

Where do I start?

To learn more about infant guardianship read this article. You can find the forms to complete on the website for West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. If you are unable to print, you can call Legal Aid (1-866-255-4370) and ask us to mail you a guardianship packet.

How do I file the petition?

You should contact your local Circuit Clerk’s office to see how you can file. Some Clerks will schedule an appointment for you to come in and file your documents. You may also be able to mail or fax your forms.

Does it cost to file?

The filing fee is $200. You will also have to pay $25 to have each parent served. You may not have to pay the fees if you are low income. You will need to file a form to apply to waive your fees. If you are not low income, check with the Clerk to see how to pay your fees.

How soon will my hearing be held?

The Judge will decide if there are immediate health and safety concerns which make it necessary to hold the hearing while the Courts are closed. You may be asked to appear by video or by telephone. Your hearing may be set after the Courts reopen if there is no emergency. The plan is to reopen the Courts on April 10th. This may change as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads. 

What if it is an emergency?

To report abuse or neglect of a child call the WV Abuse and Neglect hotline at 1-800-352-6513 to report the abuse. All reports are anonymous. 

Can Legal Aid help me file for guardianship?

Legal Aid of West Virginia has closed its local offices, but we are working remotely and are here to help! To apply call our intake line at 1-866-255-4370 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. You may also apply online.

If you receive the WV Works relative caretaker check, you can ask your WV Works caseworker for a legal referral to Legal Aid.

This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.