If you are seeking guardianship of a child, it is important to call a family lawyer as soon as possible. By doing so you can ensure your rights and interests are protected, as well as those of the child.
Who Appoints a Guardian?
Only a Family Court Judge has the right to grant custody over a child. A parent, or their family lawyer, may be able to make recommendations. However, the decision will ultimately be in the hands of the judge.
On the contrary, the court and the parents may have the ability to appoint a guardian. For example, if a parent becomes incarcerated, they may have the right to name a guardian as they see fit. The parent cannot transfer their custodial rights over the child without a court intervening.
Is a Guardianship Different from an Adoption?
A guardian has the authority to make decisions that benefit the child. In essence they have a legal relationship to the minor child; however, guardianship does not sever the legal relationship between the child and their parents. Rather, it co-exists with that relationship.
Adoption permanently changes the legal relationship between a child and their natural parents. During an adoption the biological parents give up all their legal rights and parental obligations. The adoptive parents take on these rights permanently.
How Can a Guardianship of a Minor End?
As a family lawyer might tell you, there are a number of events that can trigger the end of a guardianship with a minor child. These include:
- The child reaches the legal age of adulthood
- The death of the child
- Guardianship is no longer necessary
- The purpose of the guardianship was to manage the child’s finances, and these have become exhausted
A guardian can also ask the court to be relieved of their position. If this should happen the court will name a new guardian.
Do I Need to Apply for Guardianship if I am Living with a Child Who is Not Mine?
If you are planning on caring for a child on a long term basis, it may be in your best interest to become a guardian. Without this authority, you will almost certainly have problems getting medical care for the child, enrolling him or her in school, and making important decisions for them. Furthermore, with guardianship you have a legal right over the child, and may even have a say in their future. A caretaker would have none of this.
Is There Any Reasons to Not Become a Guardian?
There are many reasons that you would choose not to become a guardian of a child. For example, if you file for guardianship, you could set off a dispute that, for the wellbeing of a child, you want to avoid. You might also expect the biological parent to object the filing; thus, making the process very difficult to pursue. You can potentially raise a child without being their guardian, but there may be problems. A family lawyer, like from Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols, can sit down with you to explain what options are available, and what is best for your needs and that of the child’s. Call a law firm today.