When the biological, or otherwise legally recognized, parent of a child dies or is otherwise unable to care for their minor child, it may be necessary to appoint someone else as that child’s legal guardian. Not just anyone can be appointed a child’s guardian as each state has specific laws in place that address who may be considered eligible, and there is a legal process that must be followed before such guardianship will be granted by a court. A skilled family law attorney can assist individuals and families in their pursuit of guardianship of a minor child whom they wish to provide care. With the guidance of a trusted and knowledgeable guardian lawyer, the challenge of accomplishing this important milestone can greatly simplified.
Under what circumstances will a family court judge grant an applicant the guardianship of a minor?
There are many instances in which a judge has granted guardianship of a minor to the adult petitioner. This article will list several common examples, however, if the list does not include your circumstances, do not despair. Consult an experienced family law attorney to learn if you have eligible grounds on which to file for guardianship. If you are the loved one of a child and have concerns that they may be living in a situation that is dangerous or risky to their well-being, do not hesitate to call an attorney.
Here are several scenarios in which someone might be granted the guardian of child who is not their own child by marriage or birth:
- The legally recognized parents of the child abandoned that child and no longer provide them with financial or any other type of support.
- The previously legally recognized parents of the child had their parental rights terminated by the court.
- The family court judge has ruled that it is in the best interests of the child that they should be removed from the care of the biological parents, and that the biological parents should lose custody. This includes but is not limited to cases in which the parental home is unfit because the parent(s) are abusive, neglectful, unfit, violent, criminal, alcoholics, or drug addicts.
- The child’s parents consent to the guardianship of the petitioner. Alternately, if one of the parents is deceased or has been determined to be incapacitated, then the sole parent’s consent is all that is necessary.
What is required for me to be granted the guardian of a child?
For a judge to grant you guardianship, there is a number of criteria you must meet. Your family law attorney can review your circumstances to determine if you are likely to meet those criteria. As a general rule, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are at least 18 years old.
- You are a citizen or a legal resident of the U.S.
- You are of sound mind.
- You have an interest in the child that is genuine.
- You are physically capable of caring for the child.
- You have the resources (time and money) to adequately care for the child.