In cases where a parent or parents are either unable or unwilling to care for their child, the court can appoint an individual as that child’s guardian. An appointed legal guardian will have the authority and obligation to make decisions on behalf of a child regarding the care, education, medical treatment, and supervision of the child. A parent or parents might still have the right to reasonable visitation as well as an obligation to pay child support ordered to the guardian. If you are a relative or friend of the family, or the court considers you a suitable guardian for the child, you can be appointed in this role. At Alternative Divorce Solutions, we can provide you the legal assistance you need to guide you through the guardianship process.
Contact our Newport Beach office today at (949) 558-2624 to schedule a free consultation
You might be wondering what the difference is between guardianship and an adoption. The process of adoption essentially substitutes one pair of parents for another, allowing them to treat the adoptive child as a birth child. With guardianship, parents maintain their parental rights and are able to request the court for reasonable contact with the child. An adoption, on the other hand, permanently ends the rights of the child’s parents.
Another key difference is that the court can end the guardianship if the parent or parents of a child either become able or are willing to care for the child. If a child was adopted, the legal relationship with the adoptive parents is permanent and cannot be ended by the court if a parent later decides to care for his or her child.
Additionally, an adoptive child would stand to inherit from his or her adoptive parents, as would any birth child. In a guardianship, a child would not inherit your estate.
There are two types of guardianships that exist:
1.Guardianship of a person: If the court appoints you as the guardian of a child, you will have a responsibility to care for the child as any parent would. This role would also imbue you with full legal and physical custody of the child, allowing you to make all decisions relating to the physical care of that child, including food, clothing, shelter, protection, physical growth, medical care, dental care, and more.
2.Guardianship of an estate: The court can also appoint you as the guardian of a child’s estate. This means you would be responsible for managing the child’s income, money, investments, or other property until he or she reaches the age of majority, which is 18 years-old. In cases where a child’s parents are deceased and he or she inherits their money and assets, that child would need a guardian of the estate. Typically, the court would appoint a surviving parent as the guardian of a child’s estate. The minor’s real and personal property assets would have to exceed $5,000 for the court to consider it necessary to appoint a guardianship of the estate.
The process of appointing a guardian can be incredibly complicated, which is why it is necessary to seek the legal assistance of a skilled and experienced family law attorney. At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our Orange County guardianship attorneys are here to guide you through this process and answer any questions you might have along the way.
If you are currently seeking guardianship of a child, call Alternative Divorce Solutions today at (949) 558-2624 to learn how our team can help you. We provide free initial consultations.