The court decides whether guardianship should be granted through a statutory process outlined in state law, Nevada Revised Statues, Section 159 . In Clark County, guardianship cases are decided at the Regional Justice Center, a division of the Clark County District Court, located at 200 Lewis Avenue. The process includes petitioning the court, notifying the potential individual and family members, identifying the potential individuals resources, and stating the reason guardianship is needed.
The court’s decision to grant guardianship of an adult protected person is generally based on one of two types of findings:
- A finding of incompetency applies to adults who, by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, or advanced age are at risk to take care of themselves or their property. A finding of incompetency is determined by the court based on a review of medical records and written evaluation from a board-certified psychiatrist or physician.
- A finding of limited capacity includes an adult who is able to make independently some, but not all, of the decisions necessary for his or her own care and management of property. This determination is made by the court based on a review of medical records and psychiatric evaluation.
Under state law, Nevada Revised Statutes 159, the court can appoint a temporary guardian for a minor protected person who is unable to respond to substantial or immediate risk of physical harm or to the need for immediate medical attention. The parents of a minor, if qualified or suitable, are preferred over all others for the appointment as guardian for the minor. The court’s considerations include:
- Which parent has physical custody of the minor
- Ability of parents to provide for the basic needs of the child, including food, shelter, clothing and medical care.
- Whether parents have engaged the recent, habitual use of alcohol or drugs.
- Whether the parents have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, domestic violence or a crime involving the exploitation of a child.
- If a minor is 14 years of age or older, the court will consider the minor’s request for the appointment of a guardian.
- Preferences for proposed guardianship of a protected person are considered by the court in the following order:
- Adult child
- Adult sibling
- Grandparent or adult grandchild
- Uncle, aunt, adult niece or adult nephew.
- The court also may consider the appointment of an appropriate, interested person to serve as a minor’s guardian.