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Legal Guardianship

Legal Guardianship

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Published by Stacy Rocheleau
What is guardianship? Types of legal guardianship. Read this article to get more information regarding legal information about establishing and maintaining guardianship for a child.
What is guardianship? Types of legal guardianship. Read this article to get more information regarding legal information about establishing and maintaining guardianship for a child.

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Published by: Stacy Rocheleau on Aug 02, 2011
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10/18/2011

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Legal Guardianship
A guardian is a person who is responsible for the care and welfare of another person. In thecase of children, legal guardianship is automatically given to the parents at birth; however, if the parents are deceased or found unfit to care for their child, guardianship is given toanother person.Besides parents, there are two types of legal guardians for minor children: subsidized andstandby.• Subsidized guardians include foster parents, who are given financial assistance to pay forthe needs of the child for whom they are caring.• Standby guardians are chosen by the parents of a child, most often when the parents havea life-threatening illness and are expecting to be unable to care for their child in the nearfuture.The process of obtaininglegal guardianshipof a child begins with the filing of a petition. Thispetition lets the family court know that guardianship is being sought, and will be followedwith a request for evidence regarding the filer's fitness to be a guardian. Proof that theparents are deceased or otherwise unable to care for their child will be required, along withproof of a positive and established relationship with the child. The aim of the family court isto do whatever is in the best interest of the child.Sometimes, a person seeking guardianship will be required to put up a fiduciary bond tocover any liability expenses arising from caring for the child. While this process is takingplace, a temporary guardian may be placed to care for the child and serve their interestswhile a more permanent situation can be established.Once a person is granted legal guardianship of a child by the court, certified papersevidencing the decision will be sent to the new guardian. It is important to retain thesepapers for future reference.There are rights and responsibilities that come with being a legal guardian. The guardian hasthe same responsibilities as a parent would, meaning they must care for the child, make surethe child obtains an education, and provide a safe home for the child. The guardian retainsthe right to discipline the child as a parent would.A guardian is different than an adoptive parent because the parents may still have contactwith their child when a legal guardian is caring for them, and the birth parents retain afinancial obligation for their child.Guardianship is not limited to the care of a child; guardians may be placed for adults that donot have the mental capacity to care for themselves. This can include an adult who isincapable of caring for themselves because of mental illness, or can be a parent who suffersfrom mental deterioration, causing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Guardians may even beplaced for an adult who is addicted to alcohol or gambling to the point that they haveseriously harmed themselves or their family. If an adult is recklessly spending their estate tothe detriment of themselves or family members, a temporary guardian may be placed.

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