The purpose a Guardianship is to secure for a minor an environment of stability and
security by providing for the appointment of a guardian of the person when such
appointment is in the best interests of the minor; and to provide for the appointment of a
guardian of the estate for the proper management of the property and financial affairs of
the minor. The New Hampshire laws on this issue are designed to provide procedural
and substantive safeguards for the rights of parents and their minor children. Implicit in
this chapter shall be the recognition that the interests of a minor are generally best
promoted in the minor’s own home unless the best interests of the minor require
substitution or supplementation of parental care and supervision.
In New Hampshire, the statutes governing guardianship of a minor are outlined in the
New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) Title XLIII, Chapters 463 and 464.
The specific requirements to obtain guardianship of a minor are as follows:
1. Eligibility: To be eligible for guardianship, you must be at least 18 years old and
not disqualified based on specific criminal convictions or history. The court may
also consider other factors such as your ability to fulfill the responsibilities of a
2. Petition for guardianship: You must file a petition for guardianship with the
probate court in the county where the minor resides. The petition should include
the following information:
Your name, address, and relationship to the minor.
The minor’s name, age, and address.
The reason why guardianship is being sought.
Any existing court orders or custody arrangements affecting the minor.
Any known living parents, legal guardians, or individuals with an interest in the minor’s welfare.
3. Notice to interested parties: You must serve notice of the guardianship
proceedings to all interested parties, including the minor’s parents, legal
guardians, and any other individuals the court requires. The court will provide
instructions on how to properly serve notice.
4. Background check and investigation: New Hampshire requires all potential
guardians to undergo a background check, including fingerprinting and a criminal
records check. The court may also conduct an investigation to assess your
suitability as a guardian and the best interests of the minor.
5. Consent or termination of parental rights: If the minor’s parents are living and
have not had their parental rights terminated, their consent is generally required
for the guardianship. If the parents are unable or unwilling to consent, the court
may consider terminating their parental rights if it is in the best interest of the
6. Best interests of the child: The court will evaluate whether the proposed
guardianship is in the best interests of the minor. Factors that may be considered
include the minor’s emotional, physical, and educational needs, the relationship
between the minor and the proposed guardian, and any other relevant
7. Guardianship hearing: The court will schedule a hearing to review the petition
and consider the evidence and arguments presented. During the hearing, you will
need to demonstrate that guardianship is necessary and in the best interests of
8. Court order: If the court determines that guardianship is appropriate, a court
order will be issued granting you guardianship of the minor. The order will outline
your rights, responsibilities, and the duration of the guardianship.
Pursuant to NH RSA § 463:8, the burden of proof shall be on the petitioner to establish
by a preponderance of the evidence that a guardianship of the person is in the best
interests of the minor.
If a parent objects to the establishment of the guardianship of the person requested by a
non-parent, the court shall set a date for the hearing specified in this section. The
burden of proof shall be on the petitioner to establish by clear and convincing evidence
that the best interests of the minor require substitution or supplementation of parental
care and supervision to provide for the essential physical and safety needs of the minor
or to prevent specific, significant psychological harm to the minor.
When before or during the hearing on any proceeding in any court it appears to the
court that the interest or rights of a minor are not fully represented or upon the request
of any interested person, the court may appoint a competent and disinterested person
to act as guardian ad litem for such minor to represent the minor’s interest in the case.
The guardian ad litem shall have none of the rights of the general guardian. The person
appointed guardian ad litem shall make an oath to perform such duty faithfully and
The court may appoint a guardian of the person or of the estate or of both as requested
if, upon hearing, it finds based on the applicable burden of proof:
(a) In the case of guardianship of the person, guardianship is in the best interests of
the minor and the person nominated is appropriate.
(b) In the case of guardianship of the estate, that the guardianship is necessary to
provide for the proper management of the property and financial affairs of the minor and
the person nominated is appropriate.
It is important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining
guardianship may vary depending on the circumstances and the court’s
discretion. It is advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who
can provide personalized guidance based on your situation and the applicable
statutes and court rules.