Understanding Guardianship

Guardianship is not the same thing as custody. Guardianship refers to the ability of one person to have the legal capacity to make decisions on behalf of someone else. A typical and prime example of this would be an incapacitated or special needs adult. However, it is crucial to recognize that guardianship applies to children as well.

Because people can become guardians over children, it is easy to see how it can be confused with custody. For example, if a child has been taken by social services, someone likely assumes the role of the child’s guardian. They are responsible for deciding where the child lives, food, education, and medical care.

The critical piece of this is that guardianship does replace the biological parent’s legal status as it pertains to the child. In the above scenario, the child who has been taken into social services can have two parents and a guardian. 

A guardian can also look after a child’s finances if they have inherited an estate. 

Three Types

Before you can apply or seek guardianship over another, know what you want to be the guardian. There are three different types of guardianships:

  1. Guardianship of a person
  2. Guardianship of an estate
  3. Guardianship over a person and an estate

Knowing what you are seeking is crucial. The court is going to appoint an attorney to represent either the person or the estate. Depending on which one it is, the court will assign a specific kind of attorney for each.  

For a mentally disabled person, the court may use a public defender who works for the Division of Mental Health and Guardianship Advocacy. Estates will usually be represented by a private attorney. 

Whoever the court appoints conducts their investigation. If you seek guardianship, you will meet with the attorney and the person you wish to be the guardian of. From there, the attorney may enforce your request. If the attorney disagrees, there will be a hearing before a decision can be reached. 

If you are appointed as the guardian of an adult, it will last until either the adult doesn’t need it or passes away. If you are a guardian of a child, it will usually terminate when the child turns 18.

Csépes Law Offices 

If you have any further questions regarding guardianships or family law, contact Csépes Law Offices to schedule a free consultation. We build unique solutions to help you navigate the complexities and challenges of family law.

The following two tabs change content below.

Csépes Law Offices

Csépes Law Offices Provides Individualized Legal Solutions To Those Needing Family Law, Immigration, Or Real Estate Counsel.

Latest posts by Csépes Law Offices (see all)