In order for a guardian to be appointed, a petition must be filed in the Circuit Court in the county where the person in need of a guardianship lives.
The petition must be filed with the clerk of the Circuit Court, along with a filing fee.
Because of Court office closings, in person
filing is not encouraged during this time and petitions should be mailed to the Clerk's office.
An evaluation report by a physician or psychologist must accompany the petition.
In most cases, if need be, this doctor's
allowed to be done virtually.
Once the petition is filed, the Court will set a hearing and all parties will be notified of the proceedings. The Court will appoint an attorney, known as a "Guardian ad Litem" or "GAL" to be the "eyes and ears" of the Court. The GAL will meet with the person who may be in need of a guardian, the petitioner(s) and the proposed guardian(s) in order to investigate the situation and submit a written report to the Court.
During the pandemic, in most cases, the
Courts are allowing the GAL to hold this
The Circuit Court will then have a hearing on the petition --usually on a Friday morning. The Petitioner(s), their Attorney, the proposed Guardian(s) and the GAL will be present. In many cases the alleged incapacitated person does not have to be present at the hearing, but can be present if they wish.
At this time the Arlington County Circuit
Court and the Prince William County Circuit
Court are still having in-person hearings.
However, the Prince William Circuit Court is
limiting the number of cases allowed to be
heard and is modifying the time during the
day that these hearings take place.
As of now the Fairfax County Circuit Court is
not having in-person hearings. The Court is
using WEBEX to have video hearings at
roughly the same time of day as the in-person hearings were being held.
If after the hearing the Judge finds that the guardianship is appropriate, he or she will sign an Order and Qualification papers will be able to be obtained through the Probate Office.
The Arlington County, Fairfax County and
Prince William County Probate offices are
currently qualifying Guardians remotely.