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Miami and Broward Guardian Advocacy

My child with Asperger's is turning 18!!  Now what do I do? Ah, the world of Asperger’s.  Such a wild journey from initial diagnosis to the brink of adulthood.  They are so smart and talented, yet they still need our help. When our child turns 18 we think “ They are still our baby!” “What do you mean I can’t make decisions on their behalf?”  “What happens now?”

This is where the Miami and Broward Guardian Advocacy Attorneys at the Law Offices of Jason Turchin can help.  We have frontline experience as a parent, attorney and court appointed attorney to help you navigate through the adult world.


What is Miami or Broward Guardian Advocacy exactly?

Think of it as “guardianship light”.  The Florida Legislature saw the need for a less restrictive alternative to guardianship for persons who have a diagnosis of Autism, are self-sufficient in some ways, but need guidance in making personal decisions, including determining residence, consenting to medical or mental health treatment, making social decisions, and making financial decisions.

The court utilizes all the reports and medical records which seem to have accumulated in abundance during the school years to assist in the determination of whether or not a Guardian Advocate is the best option.  There has been a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder before the age of 18 which is not going to change after they reach adulthood.  The court understands that the person with this diagnosis is not fully incapacitated; rather they can use some assistance in decision making.


What is the process to have a Miami Guardian Advocate or Broward Guardian Advocacy set up?


When the parent, caretaker or loved one decides to start the process of having a Guardian Advocate appointed for their child with Autism, the first question should be “do I need an attorney?”  According to Florida Law, no.  You do not.  However, while there are forms and information online, this is a legal process which involves the clerks’ office, judges, general magistrates, testimony, admission of evidence, annual reports, etc. The advice and guidance of an attorney can help you navigate this labyrinth and ensure you have all the help and information you need to help your loved one.

Steps to set up a Guardian Advocacy in Miami or Broward

1)    Filing of Pleadings  - The proposed Guardian Advocate files a Petition to Appoint Guardian Advocate, Oath of Guardian Advocate, and Application of Guardian Advocate, among other possible documents.  They will also have to undergo a Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check and in some counties, will have to submit a credit report.
2)    Appointment of Court Appointed Attorney - The developmentally disabled person is appointed an attorney to represent their rights in this process.  Think of it as their “public defender.”  A petition has been filed which affects their civil rights and the state wants to ensure their due process right is protected.  This attorney will either contact you or your attorney to arrange for a meeting.  They will generally meet with you and their client at your home and review any documents related to the diagnosis.   This attorney is paid by the state.
3)    Hearing before Judge or General Magistrate – Depending on the county, a hearing is held to gather testimony and evidence in regards to the appointment of Guardian Advocate.  This is a formal court proceeding where the rules of evidence and civil procedure are followed.  Having an attorney to represent you in this process will make this less stressful and easier for everyone.
4)    Letters and Orders of Guardian Advocacy - Once everything is approved, Letters and Orders of Guardian Advocacy will be signed by the judge assigned to the case.
5)    Reports Are Filed - Once you are appointed, reports will need to be filed with the court.  You will also be required to take either an online class or in person class to learn about your responsibilities as Guardian Advocate.
6)    Annual Reports and More - Annual reports, checklists and applications will have to be filed for the duration of the guardian advocacy.  Again, an attorney will be a great asset in helping you navigate the Guardian Advocacy process and ensure you are in compliance with the court.

An experienced Miami Guardian Advocacy Attorney or Broward Guardian Advocate Lawyer can help walk you through the entire process to try and make it as easy for you as possible, and ensure that your child's rights are protected. One of the main goals is to allow you to continue providing care for your child and looking out for their best interests.

Guardian Advocacy Help Throughout Miami and Broward

Please feel free contact our office for a free phone consultation to determine the best option for your family as your child or loved one reaches adulthood.  We can try to understand your family dynamics personally, and can assist you in this process. 


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