Did you know that roughly 4.6 million Americans are identified as having an intellectual disability? While some of these adults are able to lead normal lives, others may not be capable of making sound decisions for themselves and may require the help and care of others. If a family member of yours has special needs, you might want to file a petition in family court to become their guardian. The guardian is legally responsible for making major decisions. As a result, the process for obtaining guardianship can be lengthy. You will require the help of a family law attorney to build a strong case. Here are 3 types of evidence you'll need.

Proof of Lack of Understanding or Capability

To become the guardian of an adult with special needs, you'll first need to prove an intellectual deficit or incapability. You need to prove that the individual in question cannot make sound decisions on their own behalf and require help from others. There are many ways that you can prove lack of understanding or capability. Testimony from the individual's acting physician, social worker or even teacher may be sufficient.

Proof of Care in Past Years

As the court will want to determine who will make the best guardian, you'll want to prove that you know what you're doing and have been the one providing the care needed by the individual in question. Testimony from close relatives and friends may be helpful. In addition, you might want to keep record of the type of duties that you have performed over the years. For example, you might have been responsible for cooking all the meals and cleaning after the individual in question.

Proof that There Are No Less Restrictive Alternatives

Most courts tend to avoid appointing guardianship if there are less restrictive alternatives available. For example, the courts may ask that you request family guidance. You will need to be able to prove to the court that there are no other less restrictive alternatives available. If the individual in question can be easily influenced, a family law attorney may want to prove that the individual may be easily taken advantage of through family guidance. In which case, appointing a guardian may be more appropriate.


As the process involved in becoming a guardian is rather lengthy and tedious, you definitely want to make sure that you speak to a family law attorney as soon as possible. You don't want to have to reapply, so make sure that you have sufficient evidence to build a strong case.

For more information, contact Haslam & Thorne, LLP or a similar firm.