A child guardianship appointment is where the court appoints a person to be the legal guardian of a minor. This is usually done by the judicial body according to the procedures outlined in statutes and laws of that particular region or jurisdiction.
In some cases, the guardian may be chosen by the natural parents of the child. An example of this is where the parents name a guardian in their will documents. The guardian named will then assume the legal responsibilities of the parents in the event that the parents become deceased.
The appointment of a guardian through a will is called “testamentary appointment”; it usually needs to be approved by the court. A court can often deny such child guardianship appointments if they decide that a different guardian would better serve the child’s best interests.
When Are Guardianship Appointments Ordered by the Court?
Guardianship appointments can occur in many different situations. Often times the court may make a guardianship appointment independently, apart from the requests or desires of any other parties. This might happen in situations such as:
- A previous or current guardian has become incapacitated and is unable to care for the child
- No other guardians are available besides the one appointed by the court
- The parent’s testamentary appointment for a guardian has failed
- The current guardian has breached their duties to the child (such as the duty to oversee the child’s finances in a responsible way)
How Are Child Guardianship Appointments Decided?
When appointing a guardian for a child, the courts will only consider persons who are qualified and who meet state eligibility requirements for being the guardian of a child. The court may analyze many different factors such as:
- The potential guardian’s mental, physical, and emotional health
- Their ability to make sound legal decisions
- Their relationship to the child and the relationship of their interactions
- Whether the natural parents have retained their parental rights
- The needs and special characteristics of the child
Thus, child guardianship appointments are always done in a very methodical and careful manner. It may sometimes require the input of a case worker or social worker who has some experience in counseling the child. That way, a guardian can be selected who is most able to meet the child’s needs.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Child Guardianship Appointment?
Selecting the right person to act as guardian for a child is a major decision. The guardian must fulfill a number of legal tasks and duties on behalf of the child. You may wish to contact a qualified family lawyer near you if you need help with guardianship laws. Your attorney can provide you with sound legal advice regarding guardianship. Also, your attorney will be able to represent you throughout the entire court process.