Guardianship for minor children can be used in a variety of situations. One of the most common is when the parents will pick a guardian for their child when they create an estate plan. The guardian has almost no role at the time, but, if the parents were to pass away unexpectedly, then they would take over in a legal role of caring for the child. They can also deal with assets while the child is a minor.
Below we will consider some of the other reasons that guardianship may be used or required and how they could be beneficial. When you’re considering your child’s best interests, it is worth considering all of the options at your disposal.
Extended family members
One way that guardianship can be helpful is if a child ends up living with extended family members or relative caregivers. If the child is not going to be able to return to his or her parents, this may be a permanent living situation. Grandparents, for instance, often take on this role.
However, going through with an adoption means that the parents have to give up their rights, and the process can be complicated and expensive. As a result, people will sometimes use a guardianship to create a legally permanent place to live without having to do this entire adoption.
When the parents are incapacitated
Parents don’t necessarily have to pass away in order for guardianship to be used. This could be useful if they have simply become incapacitated. Someone still has to care for the child and make decisions for them.
In a situation like this, the guardianship may just be temporary. Perhaps the parents will recover and be able to care for the child again. But having that guardianship in place means that the child gets some sense of stability while they wait to see if this will occur.
Understanding your options
With all of the decisions you make regarding your child, considering who has custody of them, who cares for them and where they’re going to live, you always want to make sure that you put them first. Be sure you understand your options and how their best interests can be addressed.