Guardianship is a very special and interesting section of family law. A guardian is essentially a person who protects and is given custody of individuals who are deemed vulnerable by the court. A vulnerable person who has a guardian can also be referred to as a ward. A ward can include a minor, which is a child under the age of 18 in the United States, an ill or disabled person, or an elderly person. Continue reading to learn more about guardianship, who is entitled to guardianship and why guardianship is important.
Who Is Entitled To Guardianship?
One of the big questions when it comes to the section of law that is guardianship is who is entitled to guardianship. A guardian is appointed by the court and is responsible for the safety and health of the ward once they are appointed, including making sure they are taken care of physically, financially, educationally, etc. In a divorce, one of the parents is typically assigned to be the minor children’s guardian. A guardian is typically not the parent of the child that is their ward.
A guardian is needed when a parent passes away, is incarcerated, or otherwise unable to care for their child. The person that is entitled to guardianship is the one that is appointed by the court and is often appointed based on a parent’s will.
Who Is Typically Chosen To Be A Guardian?
In the event of the biological parent’s death, the person that is appointed by the court to be their child’s legal guardian is often specified in the child’s biological parent’s will. A parent will typically choose a legal guardian based on several factors. Those factors often include how close the potential guardian is to their child, geographical proximity, ability for that person to care for another person, and whether or not that person is financially, mentally and emotionally stable. If a person wants to appoint a for their child during their lifetime, then they must file a petition to the court.
Kinds Of Guardians
There can be different people chosen to be guardians of certain things in a ward’s life. There are two different types of guardianship: full guardianship and limited guardianship. Full guardianship is where the rights are removed from the ward and given entirely to the guardian. The authority of the guardian is overarching and final in this kind of guardianship.
Limited guardianship is the more common form of guardianship and is where the guardian only has jurisdiction over what the court designates. This could be the ward’s medical, financial, educational, residential or daily care needs. Also, different people can be designated as guardians of specific facets of a ward’s life. For example, in the event of a divorce, one parent may be in charge of a child’s daily care needs but another parent may make financial decisions.
When Would You File For Guardianship?
There may be times where an individual will need to file for guardianship. One of these times would be when a disabled person is nearing adulthood. If this person cannot take care of themselves or their affairs, their parents or another family member can file for guardianship. Another time may be where the parents of a child pass away unexpectedly without having prepared a section of their will for guardianship. In this case, the court would appoint a member of the family. If you felt that you could be a better guardian than who was appointed, you can file guardianship yourself.
Do You Feel You Are Entitled To Guardianship?
If you feel that you are entitled to guardianship or have more questions regarding the guardianship filing process, we are happy to help you here at Kaufman, Nichols, & Kaufman Attorneys at Law. We have several experienced guardianship attorneys that can help you with your case and help you prepare for court. For more information, contact us today.