Guardianships are a method of obtaining legal custody or decision-making authority over another person. Being appointed guardian of a child allows you, a family member or family friend, to be involved in medical, education, and other decision-making issues when the child’s legal parents are unable to do so. There are many situations that could cause the need to assign a legal guardian to a child. This may occur if the child is unsafe living with their parents, the child’s parents have passed away, if the child’s parent(s) are incarcerated or otherwise incapable or incapacitated. A legal guardian is not necessarily a relative of the child but oftentimes it may be a grandparent, brother, sister or other relative. Courts have recognized foster parents as the legal guardian of the child.
Guardianship is not the same as adoption. In adoption, the adopting parent becomes the legal parent of the child with the same duties and privileges of a birth parent. This is not the case in a guardianship. The guardian may have many of the same rights that a parent may have, but the child still retains his/her own parents.
A temporary guardianship is where a court appoints a temporary guardian over the child. During this period a court can investigate whether a permanent guardianship of the child is necessary. If you are a single parent who needs to take a work-related trip, or are being deployed overseas, the added protection of a temporary guardian is something to seriously consider. While you are away, you can feel confident someone you trust is in a position to make decisions should an emergency occur.
A full guardianship provides the appointed legal guardian(s) with the authority and responsibility to make decisions about a wide range of a minor child’s personal and financial affairs. Oftentimes minor children don’t know when or how to ask for help; don’t let your loved one suffer alone.
In order to obtain a guardianship you must prove that the child’s situation necessitates a legal guardian. Agape Law Firm will work with you to file all necessary court documents, and supply the necessary proof the court requires to approve your petition. Due to the legal effect of this decision, even the smallest mistake can result in dismissal, as such it is extremely important to have an experienced family law attorney to represent you and guide you through the process.