Becoming a legal guardian to a new child can be an exciting and rewarding task. Of course, the process won’t be that easy or simple, but when all is said and done, you will be glad you took the approach. A legal guardian is an individual or individuals that are appointed by the court to be completely responsible for the affairs and well being of another person. Sometimes this can mean children and something it can refer to incapacitated or elderly people. Whatever the situation is, if you are looking to become a guardian you need to know the laws and regulations, as they can sometimes seem overwhelming.
Establishing Your Guardianship
The first thing you are going to have to do in order to become a legal guardian is establish your guardianship with the court of the law. You can do this by going down to the courthouse and filing a petition. You will have to pay courts fee and filing fees, but this petition will legally identify and recognize your interest in becoming a legal guardian. If you are looking to become a legal guardian of a child, you will also have to file a letter of the consent form. This form is sent to the child’s parents and in some cases they will have to sign off on your becoming the guardian. It really just depends on the circumstances and the situation that the child is in.
Can You Legally End Guardianship?
Guardianship law can be a tricky subject and sometimes a lawyer might be necessary for the process. Becoming a guardian really isn’t for everyone and you need to heavily weigh the pros and cons before making the decision. Once you become a guardian it can be extremely difficult to terminate that guardianship. In most cases you are going to be legally responsible for this child until he or she turns eighteen years of age. However, there are certain circumstances and situations when the court can end the guardianship. If you run into legal problems or are accused of abuse, you might lose the guardianship.
You might even be required to pay child support when the child is assigned another legal guardian.
Parents Can Object Your Guardianship
There are certain situations when the child’s original parents might object to you becoming the new guardian. These cases will probably have to go to court and they can be long and drawn out. Most of the time guardianship is only granted if:
- The parents give consent (Both parents, unless only one is alive or available)
- If the original parents have given up their rights to the child or the right have been terminated by the law
- A judge rules that it would be in the child’s best interest if you became the legal guardian
Keep in mind that if the parents do deny consent it is possible that you can still become the legal guardian. However, once again this will probably be a long drawn out process, as you will have to prove in the court of law that the original parents are not fit to handle the well being of the child. These situations will probably require the expertise and experience of a highly skilled family law attorney.