Monumental SIJS Decision: Guardianship for Natural Parents

Safe Passage, February 6, 2014

On February 5, 2014, the New York Appellate Division, Second Department, reached a monumental decision for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, clarifying that New York State Family Courts do in fact have the authority to appoint a natural parent to be the guardian of his or her own children.  The court explained that under the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, any person may petition for guardianship of an infant.  SCPA §1703. Therefore, the court reasoned that since the statute does not impose any limitations, appointment of guardianship may also be granted to a natural parent.  The court linked its reasoning to prior decisions involving contests for guardianship between a natural parent and a relative or nonrelative of a child, where the natural parent has been named as the guardian or co-guardian of the child. Matter of Revis v. Marzan (100 AD 3d 1004); Matter of Justina S. (180 AD 2d 641).

Please click on the link below to access the entire opinion.

Marisol N.H.Decision