Contested Guardianship Lawyer

Guardianship is a legal tool designed to protect those who can’t protect themselves, meant to make sure their well-being and financial interests are preserved. But sometimes, disagreements or even abuses arise, leading to contested guardianships.


In Florida, where guardianship laws are complex, navigating these disputes can be emotionally draining and extremely risky. If you find yourself in a contested guardianship situation, you’re inevitably going to have to decide whether to hire a lawyer.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. But in many cases, a guardianship attorney can be the difference between a failed contested guardianship and a successful one.


Florida contested guardianship attorney William C. Roof is here to provide the guidance you deserve. Contact us for help, and keep reading to learn more.


What Is Contested Guardianship?

Contested guardianship arises when there’s a dispute or challenge regarding the appointment or actions of a guardian.


A guardianship is a legal relationship where a person, the “guardian,” is given authority by the court to make decisions on behalf of another individual, known as the “ward.” The ward is often an adult lacking capacity in some way.


Contested guardianship typically emerges when parties believe that the guardianship is not in the best interest of the ward or when there are concerns about the actions or intentions of the current guardian.

Reasons to Contest a Guardianship

When it comes to guardianship in Florida, various issues can lead to disputes and the need for legal intervention:

Potential Exploitation

Guardians may take advantage of their wards, either financially, emotionally, or physically. It sounds horrible, but it happens — surprisingly often.

Such situations require immediate action to protect the vulnerable individual. An attorney can help you take the right action as quickly as possible.

Conflicting Interests

Disagreements often pop up when multiple parties believe they have the ward’s best interests at heart. This is especially common among family members who might disagree on what’s best for the ward.

Inadequate Care

If a guardian isn’t providing the necessary care or is making decisions that aren’t in the ward’s best interests, it might be time to reconsider the guardianship arrangement. If the current guardian won’t go willingly, you may need to take legal action.

Who Is Eligible to Contest a Guardianship in Florida?

There are many situations that can lead to a contested guardianship scenario. But who is legally authorized to speak up and take action when that happens?


Understanding who is eligible to contest a guardianship in Florida is essential for those involved in these legal challenges. Here’s what you need to know:

Close Relatives and Next of Kin

The immediate family, including siblings, children, and spouses, are typically the primary parties eligible to contest a guardianship. They may have concerns about the ward’s well-being under the current guardian or believe that another family member is better suited for the role.

The Ward Themselves

In some cases, the alleged incapacitated person or ward might contest the guardianship. This may happen if they believe they are still capable of making their own decisions or if they prefer a different individual to serve as their guardian.

State Agencies and Departments

Certain Florida state agencies, like the Department of Children and Families (DCF), can intervene and contest a guardianship, particularly when they suspect neglect or abuse.

Complex Cases: Divorce, Blended Families, and More

Guardianship contests can become more complicated in situations that include divorced parents, estranged siblings, or blended families.

For example, when one parent is deemed incapacitated, the other parent may contest a third-party guardianship, basically asserting their parental rights.


Similarly, children from previous marriages or other relatives may challenge guardianship decisions, especially if they believe they can provide better care or if they suspect misconduct.

Types of Guardianship

Florida recognizes different types of guardianships, each with its unique set of responsibilities and potential areas for contention:


    • Plenary guardianship. This form of guardianship grants the guardian full authority to make decisions on the ward’s behalf, covering all aspects of their life.

    • Limited guardianship. Here, the guardian’s powers are restricted, allowing the ward to retain some rights. This type of guardianship might be contested if there’s a belief that the ward should have more or fewer rights.

    • Emergency temporary guardianship. This is a temporary solution when immediate action is required to protect an individual’s health or assets. Due to its urgent nature, it’s often a hotbed for guardianship disputes.

guardianship law book

How to Fight a Florida Guardianship Case

Navigating the complexities of a guardianship case isn’t easy.


If you are looking to contest a guardianship arrangement in Florida, the first step is to call a lawyer. And the second step is to understand the steps and considerations involved.


Here’s a basic, step-by-step guide to help you fight a guardianship case in the Sunshine State:

Understand the Grounds for Contesting

Before diving into the legal process, make sure you have legitimate grounds for contesting the guardianship. Common reasons include the following:


    • Belief that the ward is still competent to make decisions

    • Evidence that the current guardian is not acting in the best interest of the ward

    • Concerns about financial exploitation or mismanagement of the ward’s assets

Gather Concrete Evidence

Solid evidence forms the backbone of any successful contestation. Here are some examples of evidence in contested guardianship cases:


    • Documentation. Collect bank statements, medical records, or any other relevant documents that can support your claim.

    • Witness testimony. Obtain statements from individuals familiar with the ward’s situation or those who can vouch for your concerns.

    • Expert opinions. Seek evaluations from medical or psychological professionals to challenge the ward’s incapacity determination.

Consult a Guardianship Attorney

Because of the many complexities of guardianship laws in Florida, consult a guardianship attorney to get an assessment of your potential contested guardianship case.


Here’s what the right lawyer can provide for you:


    • Legal guidance. An attorney can provide valuable insights into the chances of your case’s success and advise on the best strategies moving forward.

    • Representation. Should your case proceed to a court hearing, having competent legal representation is key.

File a Petition with the Court

Next, you initiate the legal process by filing a formal petition:


    • Drafting. The petition should detail your concerns about the current guardianship arrangement and state the desired outcome.

    • Submission. File the petition in the probate court of the county where the ward resides.

Attend the Court Hearing

Once your petition is filed, a court hearing will be scheduled:


    • Preparation. Collaborate with your attorney to prepare your arguments and evidence.

    • Presentation. At the hearing, both sides will present their case. The judge will consider the evidence and make a decision based on the ward’s best interests.

Abide by the Court’s Decision

Regardless of the outcome, it’s essential to respect the court’s decision.


If the court rules in your favor, work closely with your attorney to ensure all necessary changes to the guardianship are implemented.


If the decision is not favorable, discuss potential next steps or appeals with your attorney.


And remember that the ultimate goal is to ensure the well-being and protection of the ward. It’s a process that demands patience and resilience.

Florida Contested Guardianship FAQs

Navigating contested guardianships in Florida can spark a lot of questions. Here are some answers to the most common questions we see:

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal arrangement where a person (the guardian) is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of another individual (the ward) deemed incapable of doing so themselves.

When Do You Know the Time to File for Guardianship?

It’s essential to consider guardianship when an individual is no longer able to make informed decisions about their welfare or assets, especially when there’s a risk of exploitation or harm.

What Is the Guardianship and/or Contested Guardianship Procedure in Florida?

The procedure involves filing a petition, having the alleged incapacitated person evaluated, and attending a court hearing where a judge will decide on the guardianship’s validity.

Who Can Be Appointed as a Guardian in Florida?

Any adult resident deemed fit and qualified can be a guardian. Preference is often given to family members, but professionals and institutions can also serve in this role.

Reach Out to a Florida Contested Guardianship Lawyer

Guardianship matters are sensitive. And when they’re contested, they become even more complex.


With the myriad of legal procedures and the emotional toll it can take, having an attorney like William C. Roof can make a difference. Reach out to Florida contested guardianship attorney William C. Roof and take the first step toward your loved one’s protection and peace of mind.


The contents of this article are not comprehensive, they provide only a general overview of the subject matter discussed. This article does not establish a client-attorney relationship with the reader, and no legal decisions should be made based on the article’s contents. Because every legal matter arises under unique facts specific to the client, no legal decision should be made without consulting a licensed attorney.

contact us

We’re here to answer all of your questions. Feel free to give us a call, or fill out the form to the right and we’ll get in touch with you soon.