Dear Mrs. Macaulay,
I live in New York, but I have family in Treasure Beach. I am interested in learning more about the guardianship process as I think this might be an option for us.
I have a nephew there who will be 15 on October 14th. He is very ill with type 1 diabetes. I would like to get his custody and get him to the United States as soon as possible.
There are also two other parents that I would like custody of, who do not have urgent medical needs. One of these children is the younger brother of the above-mentioned nephew, and the other is his nephew (the older sister’s son). They all live in the same house. I’m trying to find the best and fastest way to get custody and bring them to the United States. Moreover, none of the children have a visa. Any information and advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time.
The legislation that applies to guardianship and custody of children in Jamaica is the Children (Guardianship and Custody) Act. You say you want to know more about the guardianship process because it seems like the best option for all of you. You didn’t say who the kids are currently living with. You also did not indicate whether the parents of the two children who are siblings are still alive, and what happened to those of the third child. It would be of great help if the parents consent and agree with all your plans for these children and that they have valid and acceptable reasons for their children to be placed in the care of another family member.
As the three children live in the same household, it is a positive point for a judge to conclude the examination of your request in your favor, because it would mean the continuity of their way of life until now. It would certainly be in their interest, as their sense of stability linked to living together would continue.
The first thing you need to do is get certified copies of their birth certificates. Please get more than one for each child, as you would need a certified original copy for each step of the process. The first will be for your petitions to the Supreme Court. Since your nephew with diabetes is now 15 years old, I suggest you obtain the services of an experienced family law attorney to begin preparing your application to be appointed guardian and obtain legal custody. exclusive of him and the other two children. All your petitions relating to the three can be prepared and filed at the same time before the Supreme Court. The 15-year-old’s request, I would suggest, also be supported by an emergency affidavit. This is how your request for it would be given at an earlier date than normal. This is to ensure that you will have sufficient time to be appointed his guardian with the order allowing you to have sole legal custody, care and control of him to proceed as quickly as possible with obtaining immigration visa/permission needed for him to travel to the United States and reside with you in New York, where you can more consistently care for him.
You must have all your arrangements made for him and others, as you must have in your affidavit to support your claims, information about your home address, who lives there with you, proof of sufficient rooms for welcoming him and others, the school or schools they would attend, information about their religious upbringing there and its continuity, etc. You must prove that you are able to maintain them all; arrangements you have made for their health services and details of their medical condition, and any illnesses they have, or do not have, and any other relevant facts about what their life would be like with you. The court must be satisfied that appointing you his guardian and giving you sole legal custody and the care and control of these three children would be in his best interests.
The appointment of guardianship does not necessarily give the guardian legal capacity to have the child or children in their daily care, unless other orders are sought. That’s why you should also get a custody order that gives you the power to make all important decisions about their upbringing. The command for you to have care and control of them allows you to have them live with you and gives you responsibility for their daily care. You should indeed seek guardianship, sole legal custody and care and control of the three children, and with these done in your favor, you will have the sole right to decide the life they live, which should always be in their best interest, and you will assume full obligation to provide for and care for them properly and in their best interest.
Indeed, under the Act, the father and/or mother of a child may, by deed or their last wills and testaments, appoint a person to be the guardian of their child after their death and such deed duly done and executed will have legal value. effect after their death. If there is one parent remaining, when they have jointly appointed a guardian, then the guardian and the surviving parent can act jointly to care for the child as stated in the deed. A guardian does not need to take care of the child on a daily basis. Duties may be simply to oversee the actions of the person having custody, care and control or the guardian’s responsibility may be solely to support the child financially from a fund in his or her custody to this end. Such a guardian must bear the heavy burden of accounting for the expenditures made from said fund.
I must therefore applaud your plan for these children and sincerely hope that you can move as quickly as possible to seek and obtain the Supreme Court orders for guardianship and sole legal custody and care and control of these three children. . All three motions can be filed at the same time, and your attorney can request that they be set for hearing on the same day, one after the other. Remember that it is also necessary to file an emergency affidavit. With these orders in hand, you would be able to apply for their visas to travel and reside with you in New York. I expect these to be green cards, but I have no real knowledge of these processes. You must obtain it from the US authorities.
I hope I have clarified the position for you. It is now up to you to act as quickly as possible. Remember that your diabetic nephew is already 15 years old and you need to complete all the processes for him before his 18th birthday.
I wish you all the best and success with all your applications and all the arrangements you need to make and put in place.
Margarette May Macaulay is a lawyer, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and advocate for women’s and children’s rights. Email your questions to [email protected]; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Ms. Macaulay cannot provide personal answers.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.