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In certain cases, a minor will need to live with someone other than their parents as a legal guardian. Many of the duties of a legal parent are assumed by a legal guardian, including basic necessities including food and shelter. The following are some often asked questions about minor children's guardianship.
This article discusses Guardianship of Child FAQ’s, including:
- What is a guardian, and who is a guardian?
- What are the differences between guardianships and adoptions?
- What happens when a minor's guardianship ends?
- What does it mean to be a "guardian ad litem"?
- Should I become a guardian if I live with a child who is not my own?
- Is there any reason why I shouldn't be a guardian?
- Would I ever need to become my child's guardian if I'm already a parent?
A guardian is someone who looks after the needs of a child. This usually involves items like housing, schooling, food, and medical attention. Guardians are normally in charge of the child's finances as well.
What are the differences between guardianships and adoptions?
Guardianship of minors refers to the legal arrangement that exists between a minor child and a guardian, which grants the guardian some rights and responsibilities in relation to the child. A guardianship, on the other hand, would not end the legal relationship between a child and his or her biological parents. Rather, it coexists with the legal arrangement.
Adoption, on the other hand, changes a child's legal relationship with his or her biological parents indefinitely. Adoptive parents take on the role of legal parents, while biological parents relinquish all parental rights and responsibilities. This ensures the birth parents are no longer obligated to pay child care, and the child will no longer inherit from his or her biological parents.
What happens when a minor's guardianship ends?
The termination of a guardianship is usually brought on by a number of events:
The loss of a child.
The child meets the legal age of majority, which in most states is 18 years old.
A judge decides whether or not a guardianship is appropriate or advantageous for the child.
The guardianship's primary function was to administer the child's finances, and the child's financial assets have been depleted.
Guardians may also petition to be stripped of their guardianship by the court, which will then nominate a new guardian.
What does it mean to be a "guardian ad litem"?
Guardians ad litem are court-appointed representatives who act in the minor's place during court proceedings involving the minor. This is usual in divorces and estate disputes, as well as any other case in which the court decides that the minor (or incapacitated adult) is unable to effectively defend himself or herself.
Should I become a guardian if I live with a child who is not my own?
If you want to care for the child for an extended period of time, you should consider being a guardian. You would have trouble obtaining medical treatment for the child, enrolling him or her in school, and a variety of other issues if you do not have guardianship. Furthermore, since guardianship of minor children creates a legal right, as a guardian, you would have a say in the child's future, while a mere caretaker does not.
Is there any reason why I shouldn't be a guardian?
A person may not want to be a guardian for a variety of reasons. Filing for guardianship could lead to a battle, which you should try to avoid for the sake of both the child and yourself. You should also be aware that the biological parents of a child may object, making the guardianship process incredibly difficult. You can also try to raise a child without a guardian, but you'll likely have a lot of difficulties. Parental consent is required by many agencies, including hospitals and schools. Each state has its own set of rules, so familiarize yourself with your state's laws to identify any possible issues.
Would I ever need to become my child's guardian if I'm already a parent?
Yes, you will need to become the child's guardian if a child is left anything in a person's will. Courts are hesitant to give a child's parents financial assets intended for the child. The fear is that parents may mishandle a gift intended for their children. A legal arrangement - and therefore a set of responsibilities - is established when a guardianship is formed, making the parent legally responsible for those assets and their management.
Ensure that your guardianship goes smoothly: Engage a Lawyer
State laws govern legal guardianship of minor children. Each state has its own set of qualifications and responsibilities for being a guardian of a minor child. Consider consulting with an experienced guardianship attorney licensed in your state to prevent problems and ensure a successful legal procedure.
Request a consultation with an Illinois Attorney. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.