A Guardianship Agreement is a legal document that transfers the legal responsibility of a child to another person.  Guardianship agreements are typically created by the child’s parents in the event that they can no longer care for their child, and will need to transfer legal responsibility of the child to someone else. 

Guardianship agreements can be enforceable through a number of different documents.  For example, a guardianship agreement can be incorporated in a will document, which might create a guardianship arrangement for surviving children in the even that the parents become deceased. 

The guardianship agreement can sometimes be a completely separate document or affidavit.  Guardianship agreements can also be created for adults who need supervision. 

What Should be Contained in a Guardianship Agreement?

Every guardianship agreement is going to be different depending on the needs of the person needing legal care.  Also, state requirements may vary for the agreement document or form.  But generally speaking, a guardianship agreement should state the following:

  • Parties to the Agreement:  This will include the child or adult needing guardianship; the parents or current guardian(s); and the person to be named as the new guardian
  • How long the arrangement should last (for example, there are temporary and emergency guardianships)
  • Whether there is a specific purpose to be fulfilled by the guardianship, and whether the guardianship should terminate if the purpose is fulfilled

Also, there is such a concept as “guardian of the estate”.  This is where a person is named as guardian of another person’s assets and belongings.  If this is the case, an agreement can also be formed, but it should clearly state the property and assets that the guardian will be responsible for.

Can a Guardianship Agreement be Challenged?

Certainly- challenging or reversing a guardianship agreement may be allowed (and even necessary) depending on the circumstances.  A common example of this is when the current guardian has been abusive towards the child or if they have neglected them.  In such cases, the court may intervene and cancel the guardianship agreement and select a new guardian for the child.

Another example is where the biological parent or parents of a child seek to re-establish custody of their child.  In this case, the court may cancel an existing guardianship agreement, but only if it is in the child’s best interests.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With a Guardianship Agreement?

Guardianship agreements are highly important in any guardianship arrangement.  If you or a loved one needs assistance with guardianship laws, you should speak with a family law attorney immediately.  A qualified lawyer in your area can help you draft, review, and submit a guardianship agreement to the court for approval.  In addition, your lawyer can provide legal representation during court if there is a challenge to the guardianship arrangement.