How To Establish Legal Guardianship Of A Child

Some parents like to consider legal guardianship as an option for their children. Establishing guardianship can be beneficial when both parents can no longer care for the children. Also, some parents name one or two individuals in their will as guardian(s) in the event of their death. If you are seeking to get legal guardianship of a child, you must file the required papers in court together with a letter of consent from the other parent. Once the petition has been filed, you will attend interviews with the child’s parents, the child, or anyone else involved in the case. The court may also order a criminal background check and inspection of your home. Ask a Salt Lake City guardianship attorney about your options.

You can appoint a legal guardian for your own children

It is wise for parents to appoint a legal guardian in case they are unable to raise their children. Life is full of surprises. Establishing guardianship earlier on with someone you trust is good planning. You can name the guardian on your will and specify that you want this person to raise your children if something ever happens to you and your spouse. It is good to have more than one guardian just in case something happens to one of them. Just remember, this may create disagreements among the co-guardians. This is a great idea for guardians who are a married couple. Just name both of them on your will so that they are authorized to make decisions for your children.

Courts always use the best interests of the child when making decisions. The court will grant you legal guardianship if they find everything is in order. So it is important you consider some important factors such as:

  • The guardian is an adult (18 years of age or older)
  • Make sure you choose a guardian your trust and someone who cares for your children
  • Someone in good health
  • Think about how the guardian’s children can influence your children
  • Financial stability of the guardian
  • Moral values

You can leave a letter of explanation for the judge if the court is not happy with the guardian you picked. List in the letter the reasons why you think this person is your best choice. Some things you may consider include:

  • Who can provide a stable home
  • Your child’s preference
  • Your child’s needs
  • How is the relationship between the child and prospective guardian
  • Conduct of the guardian

When parents don’t consent

In order for the court to grant legal guardianship, both parents must consent. The judge must find having a guardian is in the best interest of the child. However, if the parents have abandoned the child, you may have a case. Sometimes the judges determine it is in the best interests of the child to have a parent removed from parental custody.

The guardian’s responsibilities

Legal guardians are not responsible to support the child financially unless both parents have died or in other extreme circumstances. A Salt Lake City guardianship attorney can explain in more detail how the process works. There are times when the deceased parents leave funds to use for their children. An attorney may have been assigned to monitor how you spend these funds. Becoming a guardian is a huge responsibility. You are not obliged to become one. If you refuse to become one, the court will find someone else to take your place. Call us today and schedule your initial case evaluation with family law attorney Emy A. Cordano.

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