When it comes to legal guardianship, people often have numerous questions and concerns. Below, we answer a few common questions that people tend to have about legal guardianship.
Q: What Is a Legal Guardian?
A: Legal guardians are people who have the legal authority to care for another individual. The person under the guardians care is referred to as a “ward.” Legal guardians are responsible for the care of their ward’s personal property and interests. Legal guardianship is often sought for incapacitated seniors, adults who are developmentally disabled, and minor children.
The most common type of legal guardianship is for minor children. Legal guardian’s have the right to make legal decisions on behalf of the minor child. This includes where they will live, where they will go to school, and other important aspects of their life.
Legal guardians are responsible for the following duties:
- Providing shelter
- Buying clothes
- Providing food
- Caring for one’s physical and emotional health
- Protecting the ward from safety hazards
Q: How Is Legal Guardianship Different Than Adoptions?
A: Legal guardianship does not end the legal relationship that exists between a child and their biological parents. Rather, it exists alongside that legal relationship. Adoption on the other hand, permanently changes the legal relationship between a child and their biological parents. In fact, the biological parents give up all of their parental rights and obligations when their child is adopted. Adoption also eliminates child support payments and inheritance for the adoptee.
Q: Is Guardianship Permanent?
A: The permanence of legal guardianship is dependent upon the order issued by the court. Generally, legal guardianship of a minor ends when the child reaches the age of 18. Guardianship can also be ended if the guardian becomes incapacitated and can no longer care for the ward. Some legal guardianships are intended to only be temporary. This typically occurs if it is requested by the biological parent or in an emergency situation.
Other things can end a guardianship arrangement include:
- The death of the ward
- A court determination that guardianship is no longer necessary or beneficial for the ward
- The purpose of the guardianship was to manage the ward’s finances, but their financial assets have been exhausted
At Shows & Smith Law Firm PLLC, we handle all matters related to family law. Our team of lawyers can help if you are having trouble obtaining legal guardianship. Let our experienced attorneys look at your case to determine a legal strategy that is right for you.
Contact our Jackson MS family law attorneys to schedule your free consultation today.