There are several different types of guardianship. One of them is child guardianship. Parents can appoint an individual to act as a guardian for their child or children. Some parents may choose to do this because they are incarcerated or suffering from a terminal illness. There may be other reasons why a parent may choose guardianship.
The guardian has certain legal rights concerning caring for the child. In most situations, the parents still have their legal rights and are a part of the child’s life. The legal guardians have custody of the children and the authority to make decisions about the child(ren)’s protection, education, care, discipline, etc.
According to various state laws, legal guardianship is appointed by a court, such as the family court. Different associations provide more information on who qualifies for guardianship and how to obtain one.
For instance, the American Bar Association (ABA) website provides legal information on guardianship. Moreover, guardianship is a feasible option for out-of-home care. The main priority of raising a child is providing them with a healthy and thriving environment. This allows the child to stay connected to the family while having the stability of a permanent home with someone committed to taking care of them.
Guardianship appointment is a legal process that allows you to assign an individual who can care for your children when you cannot. Some people that could serve as guardians would be a trusted friend or another family member.
Once a legal guardian steps in, whatever the situation is, they would assume all the responsibilities encompassing care. For instance, food, shelter, medical, education, and necessities. States have different terms for guardianship and can also be called “conservator.”
Finally, other types of guardianship offer different functions. For instance, standby guardianship differs from traditional guardianship in that the parent still exercises most of their authority over the child. If you are interested in becoming a guardian, certain requirements must be met to become one. Furthermore, potential guardians who meet the requirements to provide a suitable permanent home for a child may qualify for various services and financial support.
You can find more information on the regulations regarding guardianship on the Child Welfare website. Resources are available online for more information on how to apply for guardianship and how the policies operate in the state.
What Are the Guardian’s Responsibilities?
As mentioned earlier, there are different guardianship types, each with different responsibilities. A guardian’s responsibilities will vary depending on if they are a guardian of the person or a guardian of the estate. A guardian of a person is someone who is legally obligated to care for the person. The guardian of the estate oversees the finances of that person.
More details can be drafted in the guardianship agreements that showcase all the responsibilities of a guardian. It is important to know your rights as a guardian as well too. The main priority of the guardian is to look out for the person’s best interests. They must act according to the fiduciary duties and take the caretaker role. Most guardians are appointed to care for someone who cannot care for themselves.
Moreover, a guardian fulfills the day-to-day needs of the person. They are responsible for making decisions regarding finances, medical care, and legal matters. Guardians are meant to protect the person, and their purpose is to help the person when you can no longer do it yourself. Usually, they are appointed when the person is incapable of taking care of themselves, terminally ill, or incarcerated. Guardianship appointments for children require more attention, and a certain criterion must be met for it.
How to Choose a Legal Guardian?
There is a process for choosing a legal guardian for your case. An important factor can be how well that individual reflects your values and how well they will provide the care they need. While you may want to find someone in the family, this does not always need to be the case. There are several resources available that have a system in place for appointing guardians. The guardians need to apply and qualify for the role. Some programs are available, and you need to look to your local state and determine what program would suit your needs.
Below are some of the questions that you can inquire about when considering:
- How is their financial health?
- Do they have the mental capacity to care for the person?
- What is their location?
- How is their health?
- Can they pay attention to detail?
- Are they responsible?
- Will this person be able to care for the child, and how will they reside with this person?
- What is the household structure of this person’s life? Do they have children of their own?
- Would your child be able to stay in the same geographic location?
- Who would be raising your child? You may assign your best friend as guardian, but maybe his wife will be the one who is primarily raising your child and;
- Do they share the same values and aspirations as your child?
Once you’ve decided on who you want to appoint as a guardian, you can communicate and discuss your wishes with them. You can see the local guardianship laws and how to apply for them. Determine the paperwork you would need to apply for guardianship.
How to Appoint a Legal Guardian?
Developing a plan to appoint a legal guardian will be useful. There are some steps to keep in mind once you decide that you want to assign a guardian for your child. You can consider the people in your family and social circle to determine who would be a suitable fit for your needs.
Here are some tips on what to consider and how to initiate the process of appointing a guardian for your child:
- First, determine the type of guardianship you would need;
- Choose who you would like to be a guardian of your children, dependents, pets, or for yourself;
- Collaborate and come up with an agreement to specify the terms;
- Communicate with the potential guardian with honesty and be open about your needs;
- Discuss with them the reality of this endeavor and how it would impact their life.
Many resources are available online to obtain the necessary information to begin this process. The main focus is meeting the child’s best interests. You want to ensure that they will be mentally and physically protected. Once you make these decisions, you can look up the necessary forms you need on your local state welfare and figure out if you need further legal assistance.
When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?
If you are looking to appoint a guardian for your child, make sure to understand the legal consequences of this. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact a local guardianship lawyer to assist you with your case. Appointing a guardian is a court process, and certain things need to be completed for the process to be complete.
Child guardianship cases can be complex and may involve many complicated laws and statutes. However, an experienced lawyer in your area will be able to advise of your rights and options under the law. If any disputes arise in connection with your situation, your lawyer can represent you in a court of law as needed.