Guardianship is a legal arrangement where a court gives a person the legal right to make decisions for another person who is unable to make decisions for themselves. Depending on the type of guardianship asked for and the person over whom guardianship is requested, the case is handled by the the Family Court, the Supreme Court or the Surrogate's Court.
Learn about the basics of guardianship.
Guardianship cases can be filed in Family Court, Surrogate's Court, and Supreme Court. Learn more about where to file.
Guardianship of a Child
A child is a person who is 17 years old or younger and not married or in military service. The guardianship lasts until the child turns 18 years old and can be over the child's "person" and/or the child's "property".
Guardianship of An Incapacitated Adult
An Incapacitated Person (AIP) is an adult (older than 18 years of age) and needs help to care for their personal needs or manage their property or financial affairs. This kind of guardianship case is brought in Supreme Court under Article 81.
Guardianship of Developmentally Disabled Person
If a person is "intellectually disabled or developmentally disabled" and has difficulty making decisions for themselves, an Article 17-A petition can be brought in Surrogate's Court.
Guardians Ad Litem
In some cases, a Judge will assign a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to help a person during a court case to protect their rights and interests.
Help & Resources for Guardians
Find help and resources if you are already a guardian or would like to become a guardian.