Bivins v. Rogers

Bivins v. Rogers, 147 So.3d 549 (2014), 2014 WL 940659

In this decision, the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's determination that a ward's son lacked standing to petition the guardianship court for a change of residence.  F.S. 744.2025(1) requires a guardian to obtain court approval before removing a ward from the state or to another non-adjacent county.  It does not, however, authorize anyone other than the guardian to apply for court approval to change the residence of the ward.

The son argued that he should have standing to bring his petition since he is an "interested person" in the guardianship.  He cited the decision in Hayes v. Guardianship of Thompson, which stated "that if the person is entitled to notice or authorized to file an objection under the Florida Guardianship Law or the Florida Probate Rules, that person has standing to participate in the guardianship proceeding." Hayes v. Guardianship of Thompson, 952 So.2d 498, 506 (Fla. 2006).  The Court held that while the son may have standing to "participate" in the proceedings under the Hayes decision, the decision does not give him standing to "initiate" the proceedings.  

The Court pointed out that the son's only possible courses of action under the Guardianship Code in this situation would be (1) to petition the court for interim judicial review pursuant to F.S. 744.3715(1), if he believed that the guardian was exceeding his powers under the annual guardianship plan and was not acting in the ward's best interests, or (2) to petition for removal of the guardian pursuant to F.S. 744.477.  The Court cautioned however, that if he were to bring a petition for interim judicial review pursuant to F.S. 744.3715(1), he could be assessed with attorney's fees if the court found his petition to be without merit.  F.S. 744.3715(2).

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