Responding to the Citation

Once you file the paperwork, the Court will mail you a legal notice called the Citation.

The Citation will tell you who you need to notify about your guardianship request.

This usually includes:

  • Your family member,

  • Their other parent(s) and siblings,

  • The Department of Developmental Services (DDS), if your family member is getting services from them, and/or

  • Several other people or organizations, as needed. They will be listed in the Citation.

 Here's what you can do:

  1. Read the instructions in the Citation very carefully.

  2. Have someone who is not the proposed guardian or a relative hand-deliver a copy of the Citation and the Petition to your family member. This can be a close friend or neighbor who is not related by blood or marriage to your family member. (On the form they call this a disinterested person.)

  3. Whoever hand-delivers these papers must sign the Return of Service form that came with the Citation. This confirms that they gave your family member the papers.

  4. Mail or hand-deliver copies of the Citation and the Petition to all other people mentioned in the Citation. (This is called serving them.)

  5. You or your lawyer (if you have one) should fill out the Return of Service form, listing everyone you served.Then sign the form. This confirms that you followed the Court’s order.

  6. Mail or bring in the original Return of Service form to the Court that sent it to you.(This cannot be a copy!) This confirms that everyone who needs to be notified has been.

    • If you mail it, use the Court address listed on the Citation.

    • If you prefer to file it in person, bring it to the Court address listed on the Citation and give it to the Clerk. The Court will only schedule a hearing once they have this form .

 

Sources: Commonwealth of MA, Jackins (2010), Misilo (2014)

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