The court will normally conduct these procedures in accordance with the guidelines provided by the statutes or laws of a particular region or jurisdiction. Thus, the requirements of a child guardianship appointment and how the court may select someone can change depending on where the proceeding takes place.
There are some cases, however, where the guardian may have already been chosen by the biological parents of the child. This situation frequently arises when the child’s parents have named a guardian in their will documents. The person chosen as the named guardian will then assume the legal responsibilities and rights of the parents in the event that the parents become deceased or incapacitated.
When a guardian is appointed through the terms of a will it is known as “testamentary appointment.” Although the parents are free to name who they want as guardian in their will, it still must be approved by the court. Also, the court is allowed to deny a child guardianship appointment 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 may arise for a variety of reasons. When a guardianship appointment is directly ordered by the court it means that the court may make an independent decision about whom to appoint and can ignore the requests or desires of any other parties.
Court ordered guardianship appointments often appear in the following situations:
- When a previous or current guardian has become incapacitated and is no longer able to care for the child;
- Where no other guardians are available aside from the person who was appointed by the court;
- The parents’ testamentary appointment (i.e., the person assigned as guardian in a will) for a guardian has failed; or
- If the current guardian has breached their legal 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 a court appoints a guardian for a child, they will only consider persons who are qualified for the role and who meet the state eligibility standards for being the guardian of a child. In making their determination, the court will assess many different factors before deciding, such as:
- The potential guardian’s mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being;
- The guardian’s ability to make sound legal decisions;
- Their relationship to the child and how the parties interact with each other;
- Whether the natural parents have opted to retain their parental rights over the child; or
- If the guardian will be able to care for the child based on any of the child’s needs or special characteristics.
Thus, it is important that child guardianship appointments are always done in a very methodical and cautious manner. In some instances, it may even require the feedback of a case worker or social worker who has prior experience in counseling the child. This way it can help ensure that the guardian who is appointed is the best and most capable candidate to meet the child’s needs.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Child Guardianship Appointment?
Finding the right person to act as the guardian of a child is a major decision and can seem daunting. Once appointed, the guardian will be required to fulfill a number of legal tasks and duties on behalf of the child. This means that not only do you have to find someone trustworthy enough to give such a huge responsibility to, but you also have to be sure that they will accept the role.
Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns about the guardianship laws in your area, then you may want to consider contacting a local family law attorney for further assistance.
An experienced family law attorney can provide you with sound legal advice regarding the guardianship process and how appointments work. A lawyer will also be able to represent you during any court proceedings or meetings.
On the other hand, if you have been appointed as the guardian of a child, then you should speak to a family lawyer right away. A lawyer will be able to explain the rights and duties you must follow in accordance with the laws in your state. A lawyer can also answer any questions you have about becoming a guardian and the legal consequences you may face if you do not fulfill your role properly.
Finally, a lawyer can also assist parties who are either looking to remove a guardian and retain custody of their child, or alternatively, if you are a guardian who can no longer care for the child and need to transfer your rights to another party.