Minor Guardianship

Snohomish County Minor Guardianship Lawyer

Sometimes it takes a village to raise a child. When the parents cannot and will not engage in parental functions, sometimes the “village” needs to go to court. Kids need stability, shelter, and safety. Grandparents, cousins, even family friends with no blood relation to the child can petition the court to become the Guardians of the children; temporarily or permanently. This not an “adoption.” The parents are still the parents, but the Guardians provide for the children’s needs, make important decisions for them, and often live with them.

Not all Guardianship action need be contentious. Many parents have reasons for needing help – extreme poverty, substance abuse, long absences for their career, or to serve time – there are myriad of reasons a parent may need to share their responsibility with a Guardian. It need not be forever. It could be the parents were extremely young when the child was born or for whatever reason, they were not ready to be parents. But that will change. They will grow, recover, and improve to be great parents in the future. In the meantime, they can appoint a Guardian to help.

Unlike all other family law, children over twelve years old may be heard by the court. They can have an attorney represent them; not control them. In the Guardianship law the attorney can speak at court on their behalf and convey their expressed interest regarding how – and with whom – they want to live.

If the Guardianship is contentious, a Guardian ad Litem or Court Visitor will probably be appointed. They are non-biased attorneys that will report to the court. Their reports are not binding, but very persuasive to the court. However, these appointed attorneys are very busy and sometimes miss deadlines or critical facts – you need an attorney to interact with the GAL/Court Visitor to make sure nothing important is overlooked (or overblown).

Minor Guardianship actions are based on relatively new law in Washington, and are extremely complex – perhaps the most hearing-heavy and paperwork-heavy actions in all of Washington Family Law. Most lawyers do not even try to take these type of cases. Walton Dabney of Dabney Law Firm has experience representing multiple Guardians and has completed the Court Visitor course. He is ready to help you – and the kids you care about – to a happy future.

Walton Dabney can advise and represent you on any Minor Guardianship matter, including:

  • Cooperative Guardianships
  • Grandparents – Their Rights, and the Limits to Those Rights
  • The Rights of Indigenous People and Tribal Kids
  • Writing the Court and Going to Court
  • Coordinating the GAL and “Court Visitor”
  • Representing Children Over 12 in Their Own Right


Dabney Law Firm can help you disregard the default and chart your own path. We help people customize their relationships. Write your own vows, your own rules, your own plan.

Five stars


I count it a blessing that I found you. Win or lose, I feel that you have been the best person...and I’ll be forever grateful.

    - Linda, C.

My same-sex, post-breakup, military-related child custody matter was too complex for the first few lawyers I called. Mr. Dabney took my case, understood exactly what needed to be done and made it happen.

- Cindy C.

My wife is from Korea, and we wanted to customize our relationship without threatening her citizenship status. Walton helped us set up a solid prenup that protected both of us.

-Shane H.

When I got the summons, I was terrified and cried all night. I called Mr. Dabney and he explained everything. He lifted my spirits and got me ready to face the case.

- Desirae B.