These are the main steps of the process.
We'll explain everything in more detail in the boxes below.
Get your child tested through the school system or a qualified mental health professional. Make sure they test your child's I.Q., and be sure to get a written report that describes your child's limitations.
Draft a Petition for Continuing Tutorship that you will file with the court. We'll tell you more about what goes in this report.
Send the testing report, most recent IEP, and drafted Petition to the Coroner in the Parish where your child lives. The Coroner will decide if they think your child has the capacity to make independent decisions. If the Coroner agrees that your child does not have this capacity, they will issue a Concurrence (or agreement) with your Petition.
Get affidavits from the tutor and under-tutor swearing under oath that they will take on this responsibility. (Affidavits are written statements signed under oath that say everything in the statement is true.)You should make sure you have a notary public present when the tutor and under-tutor sign these forms. (The notary is certified to swear they saw the document get signed.)
Once you get the concurrence from the Coroner's office, file the Petition, Concurrence, and Affidavits in the district court where your child lives.
Record the tutorship in your parish's mortgage records. (The Clerk of the Court is the person who does this.)
Note: The process works differently if your child is over or under 18. More information below!
The report must come from a qualified medical professional who has evaluated your child or family member.
The professional must write a document stating that your child has less than 2/3 of the mental capacity of a typical child their age.
You can also include these in the report:
School or medical records
Standardized test scores
Results of IQ tests given by other licensed professionals
Any records that have information about your child's abilities
In this report you'll also include the decision-making powers you want to hold on to once your child turns 18. Remember, the court will want to give your child as much independence as possible. They usually look at these four areas:
CAUTION! The words you use on documents for the continuing tutorship are important. This is why you should have a lawyer help you.
To avoid confusion, make the petition for tutorship as clear as possible. For example, if you want to prevent your child from buying a house or living in particular group homes, you must specify that clearly in the document.
By including specifics, you'll hopefully avoid the court inserting its own opinion. Note that the court will try to give the person with a disability more authority to make independent decisions unless you can prove it should be otherwise.
Source: In Re: Franques; Louisiana Law Help
Sometimes it's hard to find information for the Coroner in your parish.
If you can't find it, try calling another Coroner's Office and ask for contact information for your parish. You can try the St. Tammany Coroner's Office at 985-781-1150.
You can easily find a notary near you by typing your zip code into the search bar.
(A new website will open in a separate tab or window.)
Make sure you are searching by zip code!
The map below shows all of the judicial districts in Louisiana.
Each one has its own court. That's where you will file your petition:
Each district court should have its own website that lists helpful information, including the costs for filing documents.
Some parishes share the same district court. If you live in one of these parishes, you should call the Clerk's Office for your district court and ask where to file a petition. You can find this information by searching online for "Clerk's office + [your district court]".
Source: LA Supreme Court
If your child is under 18:
You most likely won't need to show up in court to talk with the judge about your Petition. You should be able to submit your documents, wait for the judge to review them, then if granted, the judge will sign an Order granting you the continuing tutorship. You will then make sure the Order gets recorded in the Parish Mortgage Record.
If your child is over 18:
You will need to go through a longer court process. Be prepared that it might take more time and money. The doctor or medical professional who evaluated your child may need to take the stand or have their deposition taken. The deposition would be then sent to the court as evidence.
The final step is to record the tutorship in your parish's mortgage records.
Don't worry - there isn't much for you to do here!
The Clerk of the Court handles most of the paperwork (and takes all of your payments for filing, too!). The Clerk makes sure a judge sees your petition and other documents. After the judge makes a decision and signs his or her order, the judge sends the order back to the clerk.
The Clerk will then scan the order and file it into the mortgage record.
All you need to do is check with the Clerk to make sure this is done. It might take a couple weeks depending on how busy the judge is!
Note: If you want a copy of the signed order, bring a second copy and ask the Clerk to mail it back to you after the judge signs it.
The only time you will need to record the order yourself is if the person placed under tutorship moves.
What you can do:
Go to the Clerk of Court in the parish where the person placed under tutorship currently lives and ask for a certified copy of the Order. This might cost a few dollars but shouldn't be too expensive.
Take that certified copy of the Order to the Clerk of Court in the new parish and ask the Clerk to file it in the mortgage records there. (There will be a cost for this, too.)
Now the order is in the mortgage records in both parishes because the person placed under tutorship has lived in both parishes.
If they ever move again, repeat the process so you can file the Order in the new parish.
If your child moves to a different parish after the Petition is filed, the tutor must:
Go to the Clerk of Court in the parish where the petition was originally filed
Get a certified copy of the order granting continuing tutorship
Take the certified copy of the order to the Clerk of Court in the parish where your child currently lives and re-file it there
Source: Louisiana Law Help