Due to Supreme Court Emergency Orders, the Probate Court has been accepting guardianship petitions by mail and drop box only. Probate Court will begin accepting pleadings by appointment on August 3, 2021. To make an appointment to file a Guardianship or Conservatorship pleading or to get information, please go to the following:

The clerk and deputy clerks desire to help all parties that ask for assistance and will attempt to do so. The clerk and deputy clerks are strictly forbidden to practice law by statute and are restricted in what they can give advice about or assistance in preparing. Sound legal advice must only come from a licensed practicing attorney and the clerk's office encourages all parties to seek competent legal advice. We ask that you be understanding with our staff as we attempt to assist you, knowing the limitations we face in assisting each individual party to a case.

The Probate Court is located at 133 Montgomery Street, Room 509, Savannah, Georgia 31401 (Map and Directions). The office accepts filings Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All pleadings filed with the Chatham County Probate Court by mail must be signed, verified, and have the appropriate filing fees. Pleadings without fees will be returned without filing.

Temporary Guardianship of a Minor

In which county do I file my Petition for Temporary Guardianship of a Minor?

  • If you are a Georgia resident you must file the petition for temporary guardianship in the county of your domicile.
  • If you are a non-resident of this state you must file the petition in the county where the minor is found and you must have physical control of the minor at the time of filing the petition.

What is required at the time of filing?

The following documents must be presented or filed with the petition:

  • A completed petition along with all applicable fees
  • A copy of the minor’s birth certificate
  • A valid state issued Driver’s License or identification card. If you are a Chatham County resident and your Driver’s license has an address other than your present Chatham County address, additional proof of residence is required in the form of a utility bill, rental lease agreement, etc.

The petition will require:

  • the name, address, and county of domicile of any living parent of the minor; and
  • the consent of one or both of the parents in a notarized writing consenting to the appointment of the petitioner as temporary guardian and, if so, that the consents are attached to the petition. If the sole parent or both parents have not consented to the appointment of the temporary guardian, a statement of the circumstances that give rise to the need for the appointment of a temporary guardian. O.C.G.A. § 29-2-5

Criminal Background Search:

At the time of filing, the proposed guardian will be required to complete a consent for a criminal background search and a guardian information form. The Probate Court staff will complete a background search for the proposed guardian and, if a criminal history is revealed, the Judge will determine whether the guardianship will be granted or the petition will be referred to Juvenile Court where attorneys and guardian ad litem can determine what is in the best interests of the child(ren).

The Petitioner(s) must appear in person and take an oath before Letters of Temporary Guardianship will be issued.

If you are filing to become a temporary guardian for more than one child, you must file a separate petition and pay a separate filing fee for each child.

What if the minor is already subject to a custody or temporary guardianship order entered by another court?

This Court will not grant temporary guardianship to a non-custodial parent when a custody order is in place. Also, this Court will not create a new temporary guardianship if a minor is already subject to a temporary guardianship created in another state or by another Georgia court. In both cases, you must return to the original court and request modification, transfer or termination of the custody or guardianship order that is in place over the child.

Filing Fees

A petition for temporary guardianship of a minor costs $105 plus $2.00/ page (Probate Fees). Fee waivers are available based upon the Federal Poverty Guidelines. You will be required to provide proof of your current income in the form of pay stubs, W2 forms, tax returns, etc.

The Probate Court is not currently accepting cash or personal checks. Mailed in pleadings and requests must be paid by money order or cashier’s checks. Credit and Debit cards will be accepted if services are rendered on premises.

What are my responsibilities as Guardian and/or Conservator?

When you are appointed temporary guardian of a minor, you are entitled to “exercise any of the powers of a natural guardian.” You will assume the “obligation to support the minor while the temporary guardianship is in effect.” You do not have the authority to delegate your responsibility or your possession of the minor child to another person or back to the parent without petitioning this Court to either terminate the guardianship or transfer the guardianship to another temporary guardian.

This Court will require annual reports from temporary guardians to maintain current information on address, education, health and condition of the minor child. The Court reviews the reports to ensure that the temporary guardian is being responsible and that the minor is safe and secure.

Conservator Class – Probate Court Standing Order

Entered September 14, 2022, pursuant to Uniform Probate Court Rule 1.3

Effective October 1, 2022, a petitioner asking to be appointed conservator for a minor or incapacitated adult will be required to attend the Conservator Class offered by the Probate Court of Chatham County twice each month. Please read the Standing Order and print out the Conservator Class Flyer for more information. Conservators are required to manage and safeguard the property and funds of the ward and the Probate Court is required by law to oversee the conservators. Conservators are required to file two (2) financial reports annually which are reviewed by the Probate Court with the assistance of a local CPA firm. Beginning October 1, 2022, the Conservator Class can be taken before filing a petition but must be completed no later than two months after appointment. Understanding the responsibilities and the required forms will help conservators be efficient, effective and prepared. Please sign up for the Conservator Class through the following link.

Please read the Standing Order and print out the Conservator Class Flyer for more information.

How do I end the Temporary Guardianship?

If you are the natural guardian of the minor and you would like to end the temporary guardianship, you must file a Petition to Terminate Temporary Guardianship. The temporary guardian may consent to the Petition, but if he or she does not, the Court must have the temporary guardian personally served with a copy of your Petition. If the temporary guardian objects to the termination of the temporary guardianship, the parent(s) and guardian will be ordered to mediation. If no agreement is reached, the case will be transferred to the Chatham County Juvenile Court for a final decision.

If you are the temporary guardian and you would like to resign as temporary guardian, you must sign consent for resignation and the successor temporary guardian(s) would need to file a Petition for Letters of Temporary Guardianship of a Minor. Your temporary guardianship automatically terminates on the day the minor turns 18, is adopted, becomes emancipated, or dies. A court order may also terminate a guardianship.

For additional information:
Appointment of Guardians for Children under Georgia Law
Authored By: Atlanta Legal Aid society Inc.

If you have any further questions specific to a temporary guardianships of a minor, please call (912) 652-7264 (Option 6).