In some cases, a court decides that someone other than the birth parents, which can be relatives, friends, or anyone suited to raise a child, must take custody over a child, manage that child’s property, or both. Guardianship may occur when the court orders a child removed from the custody of their birth parents (which may be handled by the juvenile dependency court) or an adult seeks a court order to make decisions on the behalf of a child that has been living with them.

Guardianship is not adoption. In an adoption, the adoptive parents are permanently given legal custody over the child and have full rights over their welfare as if they were the birth parents. With guardianship, the birth parents continue to have parental rights, can seek reasonable contact with the child, and may reacquire the child should the court decide they are once again able to take care of them. Guardians can also be supervised by the courts to guarantee the best interest of the child and the fiduciary duty of the guardian is being adhered to.

In both cases, King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. seeks to make the process as stress-free as possible. We know every case and situation is unique, and when dealing with the best interests of a child, we want to make sure they remain protected in the safest, most stable conditions necessary for their individual case.

Guardianship of the Other Person

In this type of guardianship, the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and is given the same responsibilities to make decisions in regards to their physical care as a birth parent. This includes responsibility for food, shelter, safety, physical growth, emotional development, medical and dental care, education and special needs. Guardians are also responsible for the well-being of the child and liable for any intentional harm they may cause to the child, whether physical, emotional or mental.

Some of the reasons for a guardianship of the person occur when one or both parents:

  • Are on tour in the military.
  • Have a drug or alcohol problem.
  • Have serious mental or emotional illnesses.
  • Have been admitted into a rehabilitation program.
  • Are in prison.
  • Are abusive toward the child.

To guarantee the child remains in a safe, stable and loving environment, the judge will look into all aspects of the child’s situation and decide if a guardian is in the child’s best interest.

Guardianship of the Estate

In this type of guardianship, a guardian is chosen to manage the child’s estate (including income, money or material property) until they turn 18. Because the guardian must manage the child’s money and property carefully and make smart investments on their behalf, this is especially needed when a child inherits an abundance of money or assets. In most cases, the surviving parent is appointed as the guardian over the child’s estate, but in some cases, the same person may be appointed guardian over both the child and the estate.

Juvenile Dependency

When a report is filed with the Department of Child Protective Services, an investigation begins with the state removal of a child from the custody of the birth parents. In this case, the child can be reprimanded to a state-run facility or be appointed a guardian or foster parent as the birth parents prove they are capable of providing a safe, stable and loving environment. Go to Juvenile Law to learn more.

It is always best to speak with a lawyer if you are seeking to gain guardianship of a child or their estate. Contact King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. for a consultation on your specific case.

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