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How to Establish Guardianship of a Child

If a child is left without a biological parent to care for him or her, someone can step in and become the legal guardian. Guardianship of a child allows a person to care of a minor and make decisions on his or her behalf.
In this two-part series, our lawyer in Cary NC will take a look at the steps involved that can help with establishing guardianship of a child. First, let’s learn more about the reasons why someone may need to name a guardian for a child, and the types that can be established.

When is There a Need for Guardianship? | Lawyer in Cary NC

The cases for guardianship can vary. A child’s biological parents may die unexpectedly and may not have named a caretaker in their will. A parent could become ill and unable to care for his or her child and need someone to keep the child on a temporary basis. In other situations, the child could have been abandoned by his or her parents. A child known to be in an abusive or dangerous home may have someone step in to take him or her into a safer environment.

Types of Guardianship | Lawyer in Cary NC

Depending on the situation, there are different types of guardianship. A planned guardianship is when a parent chooses someone to care for his or her child if they should die to become incapacitated. These instructions are usually outlined in a will.
In a dependency case, the child has been abused or neglected and someone is appointed his or her guardian either on a temporary basis or as a permanent solution. In these cases, the courts have stricter rules. They may require the caregiver to pass a home study or meet with a social worker.
A parent may feel he or she cannot care for a child, a voluntary guardianship can be set up with grandparents or someone willing to take the child. Both parties must approve of the situation, which can be temporary or permanent.
If another family member feels the guardianship that is being established is not in the best interest of the child, he or she can contest it. An aunt, uncle, cousin or other grandparent can challenge the request for guardianship but it has to be for a good reason, such as eligibility or disputes about financial affairs such as child support.

Who can become a guardian?

There are many factors surrounding choosing a guardian. A person must be 18 years of age or older, be physically able to care for the child, be financially able to raise the child, either through the parent’s assets or his or her own finances, and should have a personal interest in the child.
If, as the parent, you are making the choice for a will, you should consider all aspects of the person’s life, such a where he or she lives, if he or she has other children and if you share similar values with that person. You want to make sure you are making the best decision for your child.
In the second part of this series, our lawyer in Cary NC will look at the steps it takes to establish guardianship.
If you need help with guardianship or estate planning, be sure to contact our lawyer in Cary NC at Eldreth Law Firm, PLLC. We can assist you with all your legal issues.

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