The mission of GAP is to assist parents of developmentally disabled young adults in obtaining legal guardianship. We understand that you have taken care of your child all of his or her life and that nothing has changed for you once your child reaches age 18. However, under New Jersey law your son or daughter is vested with certain constitutional rights once they attain age 18 regardless of the disability. A legal guardianship is required in order to allow you, as the parents or guardian, to continue in your role as decision-maker.
A. What is the role of the Guardian?
The Guardian makes all decisions regarding financial and personal decisions including education and medical.
B. What is the court process?
1. The first step is the filing of the complaint with attached affidavits of two physicians attesting to the fact that your child is unable to make life decisions. It is essential that the two physicians examine your child and sign the certification no more than 30 days prior to the filing of the complaint.
If your child is DDD eligible or receiving DDD services you may attach 1 physicians certification (examination must be within prior 6 months) and a copy of the childs last IEP (prepared less than 2 years ago).
2. Once the complaint has been filed, the court will sign an Order setting the hearing date. This order will contain two important pieces of information.
a. The date and time of the hearing. (depending on which county the case is filed in, a court appearance may not be necessary).
b. The court will appoint an attorney to represent your child’s interests. This attorney may be entitled fees.
3. Once the court grants the guardianship you will receive a Court Order. Upon receipt you must contact the surrogate’s office of your county to schedule appointments to be sworn in as the guardian.
Fees and Costs
1. Attorney Fee - GAP charges a flat fee of $1,200.00 for full representation including Court Appearances (if required, some counties do not conduct a hearing but instead reach a decision based on the papers submitted to the Court).
2.Filing Fee to Court - $200.00 (can be waived based on income).
3. Court Appointed Attorney - this is the attorney that represents your child. These fees can vary based on the amount of time the attorney spends on the case. You can also request a public defender (there is no fee but the hearing will be delayed).
GAP provides legal representation through the entire Guardianship Process. Our Services include:
a. Consultation with parent/caretaker
b. Preparation and Filing of Petition for Guardianship
c. Representation at Court hearing
Our Program will provide you with a free in person or telephone consultation. Please complete the attached Intake Sheet and return via email, fax or regular mail. Upon receipt we will schedule a consultation