Seeking Guardianship

If you are not the biological parent of the child you are caring for you might want to consider seeking guardianship. Guardianship will give you custody of the child and/ or also the power to manage the child’s estate. Two types of guardianships exist: Guardianship of the Person and Guardianships of the Estate.

Guardianship of the Person

A Guardianship of the Person is like a hybrid of physical and legal custody that exists in family law. Legal custody gives the parent of the child the legal right to make decisions regarding health, safety, wellbeing, and education. A legal guardian is responsible for making decisions about the child’s day-to-day life and overall wellbeing, which includes arranging for the child’s care and protection. A child typically lives with the parent that has physical custody.

Guardianship of the Estate

Guardianship of the estate might be appropriate if the child has assets that need to be taken in consideration. Guardianship of the estate is filed in order to appoint a person that will make decisions regarding preservation of the child’s finances, money, or other income until the child reaches the age of majority, 18. If appointed guardian of the estate, you will need to consider the many responsibilities and duties owed. The child’s finances must be protected and managed, with strict records kept in order in case a court requests accounting information.

Guardianships Can be Complicated

The child’s relatives need to be given notice. The court requires the proposed guardian to file a series of forms. A proposed legal guardianmust undergo an investigation of multiple areas, including: the social history of the proposed guardian, the social history of the child, the relationship of the proposed guardian to the child, and the anticipated duration of the guardianship.

The court will set a hearing during which it will be determined if the proposed guardian should be appointed. A court may order a temporary guardianship if there is an emergency situation. If a formal hearing is not conducted first the temporary guardianship will expire within thirty days.

Formal guardianship may not be required if seeking a guardianship for the purpose of enrolling a child in school or for authorizing medical treatment. A non-relative can enroll a child in school and medical and dental treatment can be acquired for the child,upon completion of a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit.

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