Virginia Woman's Fight Against Guardianship Illustrates Dueling Theories of Guardianship Law
A 29-year-old Virginia woman with Down syndrome is fighting her mother's attempt to obtain guardianship in a case that h...Read more
A Virginia court has ruled in favor of a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome and refused to grant her mother's guardianship petition. The court chose to name the woman's friends and employers as her guardians instead, as she had requested from the start.
As we recently reported, Jean Hatch's parents spent years trying to avoid taking care of her, shuttling her between group homes and friends' couches. Once Ms. Hatch began receiving Medicaid and living with her employers, Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert, her mother and stepfather, who had previously told the court that they had a terrible relationship with Ms. Hatch, filed for guardianship. Ms. Hatch fought the guardianship and argued that if the court thought that she needed assistance, she should receive it from her friends and not from her mother and stepfather.
The court agreed with Ms. Hatch and appointed Ms. Morris and Mr. Talbert as her guardians. Although Ms. Hatch was not able to convince the court that she didn't need a guardian, the court did honor her wishes, to the delight of national disability advocates who had taken up her cause.
To read about the court's decision in the Washington Post, click here.