Guardianship Attorneys at O’Flaherty Law

Not All Guardianship Attorneys Are The Same

Adult and child guardianship involve significant risks and responsibilities. Surrendering parental privileges and assuming those duties are not accomplished through an informal agreement. Even if parents want to waive their rights to willing caretakers, the parties must follow a specific procedure.

The guardianship attorney you select can have a significant impact on your life and the life of the individual you are seeking guardianship over. When determining who you want to stand by your side during guardianship proceedings, you will want an attorney who is knowledgeable, communicates with you, explains the complexities of the court proceedings and advocates for you in court by clearly expressing your qualities and abilities to serve as a guardian.

Maintenance of a minor’s or adult’s welfare can change over time. Modifications may require further interference by government agencies or childcare facilities that report to the court. The court itself may appoint a guardian under restrictive terms that require constant monitoring and supervision, even if that plan does not really serve the child’s or adult’s needs. The guardianship attorneys at O’Flaherty Law have helped parents and guardians avoid irreparable mistakes in child custody and probate cases.

O'Flaherty Law Guardianship Attorneys - What We Can Offer

Remote Consultation

Covid-19 shouldn’t put your legal needs on hold. You can receive a consultation and most legal services without leaving your home. Our attorneys are happy to speak to you by phone, video conference, or e-mail.

Criminal Law

Being arrested and charged with a crime can be scary and confusing. It’s crucial to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. We are here to defend your rights and to see that the court and prosecution are just and fair.

Family Law

When you are trying to deal with a family law issue or are considering adding a member to your family, it is essential that you have an experienced family law attorney on your side to guide you through the process.

Litigation

We will aggressively protect your rights and fight on your behalf to achieve an efficient and cost-effective favorable outcome no matter the legal issues, whether commercial litigation, fraud, defamation, negligence, etc.

Appeals

Filing an appeal requires a special set of skills and understanding of state and federal deadlines. Don’t leave your appeal to just any lawyer. The appeals process is complex and not kind to the person filing the appeal.

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Our Guardianship Lawyers Can Guide You Through the Guardianship Process!

The guardianship process begins with a petition. This involves filing official paperwork at the court with control of your case. Depending on whether the parties with current parental privileges consent to the guardianship, these forms may change. Minors 14 years of age or older must also consent to the guardianship. If no one steps into the parental role, the court can appoint a professional or childcare agency to raise the child. Once this happens, the court will order regular maintenance checks to ensure adequate performance by the welfare provider.

Adult guardianship procedure can be equally complicated and often involves multiple assessments of the individual seeking or requiring guardianship. The team at O’Flaherty Law will ensure that the guardianship process is as simple as possible. We will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information to determine the form of guardianship you wish to pursue, that all appropriate documents are filed in a timely manner and that you are prepared for all future proceedings.

At O’Flaherty Law, our seasoned guardianship attorneys balance all these factors to determine the right course of action for you. Whether that means appointing the right guardian, taking over parental privileges, or avoiding guardianship altogether, you can count on putting the best legal minds to work on your case.

Attorney Consultation

The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good first for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.

  • Specialist Family Law Attorney
  • Sympathetic yet effective counsel
  • Putting the best interests of you and your children first!
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What to Expect from Your Guardianship Attorney

Whether you are seeking guardianship yourself or for someone else, you will want help navigating the legal process. A guardianship lawyer will guide you through the procedures required to assume the legal role of “guardian.” No matter how much you have read, you will want to start by consulting a legal professional, preferably one familiar with family and probate law. Once you find a reputable guardianship law firm, schedule a phone or virtual consultation.

Bring all the documents you have acquired regarding the guardianship and be frank about what you want from the relationship. All communication with your guardianship lawyer remains confidential, including what you discuss in the initial consultation. Some details that you think unimportant can be critical to your case. You will learn what distinguishes different types of “guardianship:” temporary versus permanent, conservatorship versus power of attorney. If you are not appointed guardian by the court, discuss whether you have the consent of the party giving up guardianship or ask about the full range of duties you are waiving.

Finding a good guardianship lawyer is just the beginning. The attorney will ask questions to narrow down the issues and create a strategy to get an agreement that most benefits you. You have not consented to any legal services or related fees until you sign an agreement in writing. Because most guardianship forms are filed in court, having an advocate can save you time and money. In some cases, guardianship attorneys appear in family or probate hearings on your behalf. Guardianship terms can change, so be ready to talk to your attorney before going to court.

Securing Child Guardianship

Except for some types of guardianship like those designated by the court or a government program, securing guardianship requires familiarity with how to best serve the interests of the child or the child’s estate. If you are not a guardianship lawyer, this may require securing the consent of an interested third-party and taking court-mandated childcare courses. If guardianship over a child or estate is contested, you must file a petition with the court declaring the lack of consent. The application for appointment as guardian at least requires consent when the minor is 14 or older and disclosure of status as a child in need of services (CHINS).

Securing Adult Guardianship

Any individual 18 years of age or older who is of sound mind can be appointed a guardian of a disabled person. That individual must not have been convicted of a serious crime and must demonstrate to the court an ability to protect the well-being and the estate of the disabled person.

A disabled person is an individual who is unable to make decisions because of a mental incapacity, physical incapacity, or, in some cases, addition. An individual making unpopular decisions does not qualify them as a disabled person.

Conservatorship vs. Guardianship

Conservatorship is like guardianship for incapacitated adults with a few key differences. Unlike guardianship, conservatorship requires a higher duty of care, especially when a large estate is involved. Conservatorships are also subject to strict oversight by the court. To get away from court scrutiny, you can adopt alternatives through:

  • Good estate planning
  • Appointing a trustee to manage finances
  • Giving a friend or relative durable power of attorney
  • Delegating specific agents in a living will

With trusts, the grantors of the trust must have been competent when forming the trust and set forth how and when a trustee will take over in the contract. Power of attorney also gives someone else authority to make important personal, medical, and legal decisions.

Court-appointed guardianship is likewise more restrictive for the guardian, but in some cases, necessary to protect the child. Taking responsibility for the health, well-being, and maintenance of a minor is a legal duty. If the child becomes a delinquent and enters the juvenile criminal system, entities other than the birth and adoptive parents may become involved, including:

  • Department of Child Protective Services
  • Regional services council
  • Child welfare service providers
  • Foster family, group homes
  • Licensed childcare providers
  • Substance abuse treatment centers

Children should only come under the guardianship of such agencies where no parents or relatives are available or in cases of extreme abuse or neglect. To get licensed, providers must not have been convicted of certain crimes and consent to periodic checkups to ensure that the agency is meeting minimum requirements to safeguard the child’s welfare.

Temporary Guardianship for Children

For children, guardianship typically ends once the child turns 18. But a guardian is not absolved of all responsibility on the child’s eighteenth birthday. Depending on the court in charge of your case, conditions of release may be different. Courts are generally unwilling to allow termination of guardianship before the legal age of emancipation because teenagers can then become “wards” or the responsibility of the state or may be placed in foster care.

Those who want to end guardianship before the child turns 18 should have a valid argument and viable substitute to get approval from the court. With the help of a guardianship attorney, the court may also grant guardianship or custody in cases where:

  • No one else has been appointed
  • There is a crisis or emergency
  • The child’s safety and welfare are in danger and
  • No other party has legal power to act in an emergency

If the court finds immediate and irreparable injury would occur without such appointment, it will delegate a temporary guardian or custodian for a period set by the court. A temporary custodian may also be appointed if it finds temporary suspension of parental rights necessary to protect the child. Upon the death of a parent with custody, the court may also name a temporary guardian if one is not already provided for in writing.

Temporary Guardianship for Adults

A temporary guardianship is an emergency action by the court. A temporary guardian is appointed when an emergency occurs, like the death of a prior guardian, and time does not permit the proper guardianship proceedings. A temporary guardian is appointed when the necessity of a guardian for the welfare and protection of a disabled person has been demonstrated to the court. A temporary guardianship is only in place for 60 days or until a guardian is regularly appointed, whichever comes first.

Adult Guardianship

Adult guardianship or conservatorship is only necessary where the adult is incapacitated or incapable of personal and financial decisions regarding their care. Adult guardianship carries many responsibilities and exposes trustees to lawsuit brought by interested beneficiaries. For an agreed-upon fee, adult guardians may have to:

  • Take mandatory courses on being an adult guardian
  • Appoint a professional guardianship lawyer
  • Account for all income and expenses of the estate
  • Engage in financial transactions that benefit the grantee

Frequently Asked Questions

While the team here at O’Flaherty Law will be available to answer all of your questions and concerns regarding your DUI charge, we want you to be as fully informed as possible. Our goal is not only to get you the best possible result in your case but for you to feel that all of your questions and concerns have been responded to clearly. Below we include our most frequently asked questions regarding DUI charges.

Which is worse, a DUI or a DWI?

Neither. They are simply different terminologies for the same offense.

How much does a DUI cost?

It depends on the laws in your jurisdiction and if it is your first offense. For a first offense, you will pay a fine, and there will be additional charges by your auto insurer to continue to insure you. For the second offense and onward, expect the fines to climb. Additionally, if you decide to opt for the help of an experienced attorney, you will be paying legal costs and fees.

Is DUI always from alcohol?

No. A DUI does not only stem from being caught driving after drinking. A DUI, or whatever terminology your state uses, can occur after taking any mind-altering substance, alcohol, drugs, even prescription medications that you got legally.

How long does a DUI stay on your record?

A DUI's time on your record varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but you can count on it staying there for at least five to ten years and maybe longer. In some states, it can stay on your record for life so that even if 20 years pass and you get another DUI, it will be treated as your second DUI and not your “first,” with the accompanying fines and jail time. Furthermore, if your state has a points system for driver’s licenses, it will also be affected.

What is an aggravated DUI?

If you get a DUI with “aggravating factors,” including the following examples:    
                   
- You had minor children with you in the car when you were stopped
- You had DUI convictions in the recent past
- You were previously convicted of a DUI that caused significant bodily harm to someone
- You had a blood alcohol content of 20% or higher
- You were going 20 miles or more over the speed limit
- You refused to take field sobriety tests

A charge of aggravated DUI is very serious. If you are convicted of an aggravated DUI, it comes with a much harsher set of punishments than the more common DUI charges. Higher fines, revocation of your license, and most likely prison time.

Can you get a DUI on your bike?

If the state you are in is considered a drunk bike rider guilty of a DUI, you might get a ticket and a fine, but if you are caught driving drunk later in a motorized vehicle, it will count as a second offense that comes with harsher penalties. Not being in a motor vehicle is not protection from operating while intoxicated. You can get a DUI in a boat, on a scooter, or any other “thing” with a motor.

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