For a while now, we've been going through the process of having my niece move in with us full time. This has meant, among other things, that we've needed to get some sort of piece of paper saying the state recognized this relationship. Although the number of times people actually ask to see proof that you are responsible for someone is small, it is usually something really important where they will ask. So, to head off awkwardness we applied to become legal guardians. Now, it is possible to pay a lawyer to take care of this, but since everyone I talked to quoted me a price of $1500 I figured I could do it myself. There are lots of guides online to help you through the process, but as it turns out if you don't read them carefully enough you may still end up looking silly. At our hearing, we made it all the way to the end, with only a few promptings from the judge (for example, he made me state for the record that I was, in fact, over the age of 18), before we ran into a snag. It turns out, when you win a court case, you are expected to provide the judge with an order to sign, basically confirming the ruling that was made. I didn't have it (I should have - it was included in the packet - I just didn't print everything off when I should have). But no real problem. It's nice to have verification from time to time that the legal system really is something one can navigate without a lawyer, even if it isn't all that much fun to have to learn everything on the fly.