Many people confuse guardianship with custody and adoption. These are different legal terms. These arrangements involve a parent leaving their child under the care of another person. However, the degree to which a parent relinquishes their parental rights is what sets these two legal terms apart. Here's a brief look at the frequently asked questions about guardianship.
Who's a Legal Guardian?
A guardian is appointed by the court to be responsible for the interests of another person. A guardian is responsible for making financial, medical, contractual, and other major decisions on behalf of another person. This arrangement is mainly used for minor children, disabled adults, and incapacitated adults.
In the case of a minor, a guardian can be selected by the child's parents. Family lawyers can help you prove that you're eligible to be a guardian. A guardianship involving minors occurs when a child's parents can no longer care for the child. For example, if a child's parents are in custody, they may select a guardian to care for their child. This can also occur if a child's parents are serving in the military overseas and appoint a guardian for their child.
How Can You Get Guardianship?
Guardianship is established once your family lawyers file a petition and the court grants you a guardianship order. Even after a parent consents to a guardianship arrangement, you still have to get clearance from the court. Your family law firm will file the petition in a probate court.
After filing the petition, the court will set a date for a hearing. During the hearing, the court will listen to the petitioner's arguments to determine whether a guardianship arrangement is appropriate. You'll be required to present evidence to show that the child needs a guardian. For example, you can present medical tests and proof showing the current status of the parents.
When Does a Guardianship End?
A guardianship is a temporary arrangement unless you seek permanent guardianship. A permanent guardianship, though rare, is granted after a certain period of time if the court deems it in the best interest of the child. Generally, guardianships end after the duration for the guardianship order lapses. However, it can also be terminated following the occurrence of certain events.
Many guardianship arrangements are open until the guardian resigns or the child attains majority age. A guardianship can also be terminated when the child or guardian dies. Additionally, guardianship can end when the court rules that it's no longer serving the child's best interests.
In conclusion, guardianship is different from child custody and adoption in that the parents of the child still maintain their parental rights. In most cases, guardianship arrangements are temporary. To learn more about your responsibilities as a guardian, you should consult a family law firm.