If the judge agrees with your petition and you have provided sufficient evidence that you should be the guardian, the judge will issue a guardianship order. My wife has occasions where she is out of town for extended periods. There are two types of proceedings through which you can obtain legal guardianship of a minor child. You petition the court to find your parent legally incompetent. I had this situation arise recently while living in Florida where the school would not allow me to make a very routine decision involving my stepson. Review the legal guardianship laws for your state, and determine what types of guardianship or delegations of parental powers your state might allow you to apply for. This is known as a joint claim. Generally speaking, a guardian is someone other than the parent who has custody and control of a child. A court order will be given if the judge feels a guardianship is the best option for the child. ... Give personal notice to the child's parents, the person with legal custody of the child now, and the child (if the child is 12 or older) – at least 15 days before the hearing. American colonial courts favored stepchildren's biological relatives over widowed stepparents in custody battles. You can apply to be a child’s special guardian if you’re not their parent and you’re over 18. Your state may have a "co-guardianship" law that allows your spouse to ask a court to appoint you as a permanent co-guardian. Children or young people aged 12 years or older must give their written consent to a guardianship order being made, where they are capable of doing so. Our team is very familiar with the laws and procedures necessary to obtain a legal guardianship in Pennsylvania. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. A step-parent can become a legal guardian by receiving court-ordered guardianship of a stepchild. When a court appoints you as someone’s legal guardian, that creates a fiduciary relationship between the two of you. The judge may even request a private meeting with the child. If the judge is satisfied with the answers received at the hearing, the judge will issue a court order appointing you as a legal guardian of your stepchild. This includes responsibility for your stepchild's health, medical decisions, and school decisions. Obtaining legal guardianship of your stepchild can provide closer legal ties. A power of attorney may give a non-parent the right to make … Complete the motion, setting forth … A legal guardian, also called a conservator in some states, is someone with the legal authority to care and make decisions for a minor child or incapacitated adult. You'll also need to have a clear criminal record, as well as no conflicts of interest with the person you want to be the guardian of. A step-parent can make an application to the court for the Judge to make an order that they have parental responsibility for the step-child. A permanent guardianship remains effective until your stepchild reaches age 18. Home » Legal Forms » Guardianship & Conservatorship » Basic Instructions for Guardians. But if you feel that the individual is unfit as a parent, you can challenge them in court. Parents may also appoint two individuals as guardians. This lawyer will be responsible for making sure any Louisiana guardianship which is awarded is in the best interests of their client. Where a parent is joint guardian and the subsequently marries, enters into a civil partnership or becomes a qualified cohabitant, the other guardian will remain the joint guardian of the child. When parents are unable to take care of a child, a relative or friend may step in and become the legal guardian of that child. By signing the form, you're swearing under oath that everything on that document is the truth. Only the natural parent(s) or legal guardian(s) can consent. Therefore, the child’s legal parents can always terminate the guardianship and reclaim custody of the child, as well as pass inheritance along to the child. CALL NOW EMAIL NOW. Privacy Policy. If you are considering becoming a legal guardian for a child you care about, the first step in the process is to contact an experienced Pennsylvania guardianship attorney, like those at Bierly & Rabuck. Go to the clerk's office of your local courthouse and ask for the form to file for a guardianship of a minor, usually called a Petition for Guardianship. This includes seeking the views of the child or young person, their family and their carer. You would have the same responsibilities as a parent for your stepchild's care, allowing you to make medical decisions and schooling arrangements. takes to appoint a guardian may be longer due to the investigation that will need to take place. As a stepfather I think I don't have any legal rights as a parent. Legal guardianship applications after changes in relationship status of the parents. If you refuse to become the guardian, the court will seek another suitable person or agency. Print. Read More: How to Write a Legal Guardianship Document. If your stepchild's non-custodial biological parent is not an unfit parent, a court may be reluctant to grant a permanent guardianship request. Our network attorneys have an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. A court will appoint a legal guardian to care for an individual who is in need of special protection. Applying to become a legal guardian over someone else involves filling out a number of … Applying to be a Guardian. You want to apply for guardianship. Petitioning the Texas family court to grant you guardianship may be your best alternative. The surviving parent is still considered the statutory guardian. SupportGuidelines.com: The Duty of Stepparents to Support Their Stepchildren, Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein, P.C: Legal Rights of Stepparents, FreeAdvice: Rights of a Stepparent in Making Legal Decisions for Stepchild, Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society: Stepparents in the United States, American Bar Association: Family Law in the 50 States, FamilyEducation.com: Stepparent Adoption -- Other Options. You can only obtain legal guardianship if one or both of their natural parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child. Your stepchild's biological parents have the legal authority to make final decisions about your stepchild's medical care, schooling and spiritual training, no matter how deeply involved you are with your stepchild's care. If a biological parent wants to remain in the child's life, they have a legal right to do so. Get a guardianship form from the clerk's office. A guardianship establishes a legal relationship between you and your stepchild (for things such as medical consent and providing education, food, shelter, and clothing), but the parents remain the parents. A parent will automatically become a guardian by operation of law provided that the parent becomes aware of the pregnancy or becomes aware of the birth of the child, whichever is earlier, within one (1) year (Section 20 – and only parents apply). These legal trends left a legacy of ambiguous and complex state laws on stepparents' roles that differ from one state to the next. You already provide emotional and possibly financial support for your stepchild. Is your husband unable to care for the child as well? The surviving parent is still considered the statutory guardian. Legal guardianships can give guardians custody of a child until they’re 18 years old; however, the legal parents retain all legal parental rights for the child. A person who wants to become a guardian of a child must provide the court with information about their plans for the care of the child and about their history. Basic Instructions for Guardians. I need to obtain legal guardianship so that I can make decisions for my stepson with regard to school, medical care, etc. This may include decisions about accommodation, health care and access to services. You know you can handle the task and are willing to do whatever it takes to make that dream a reality. Your stepchild's biological parents would still be responsible for providing financial support and … If so, you can petition the court for temporary custody of the child. When a stepparent is made the legal guardian of a stepchild, both biological parents will still keep all their financial and legal responsibilities regarding the children. This order stands as legal proof that you are the guardian of the child and also provides you with the ability to make important decisions on the child’s behalf. The American Bar Association Family Law Section maintains links to family law codes in all fifty states on its "Family Law in the 50 States" web page. However, you can also speak with a family law professional too. Applying to become a legal guardian over someone else involves filling out a number of forms and going through one or more court proceedings. As your advocate, Carol presents the best possible arguments, authority, and evidence that YOU are the person who should be allowed to adopt or become legal guardian. Ezra Shaw/Digital Vision/Getty Images. If you are asked to become a guardian through a will in Scotland, and another parent or guardian of the child is still alive, their rights are not affected. Linkedin . to find out more about this. By following the steps below, you can petition for guardianship on your own. Legal guardianship cases are heard every day throughout the United States. If you are attempting to be appointed to this position, you may wish to consult a lawyer. Petition the Court. In its legal sense, "guardian" refers to 1. a "guardian of the person" (described as "custody" in Ontario legislation) or to 2. a "guardian of property" (responsible for managing the child's assets). Print. The clerk will assign a judge to your case and will schedule a hearing where you, your spouse, the biological parent, and possibly your stepchild attend. Yes, and doing so is good planning. Obtaining legal guardianship of your stepchild can provide closer legal ties. Email. If you are seeking to become a guardian, you must read the Guardianship Pamphlet (Form GC-205). You can only obtain legal guardianship if one or both of their natural parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child. See How can you become a child's guardian? The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law. It … Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! Think carefully about the questions above and plan accordingly. This imbalance can create problems in situations where decisions affecting your stepchild's welfare must be made quickly, but you lack the legal authority to do so. The judge may order an investigation to make sure that you have a stable and safe home. Someone pls give me some insight. But until you take the step of receiving a court-ordered guardianship of your stepchild, you lack that legal authority. Duties and Powers of a Guardian of Property This document explains what being a Guardian of Property involves, what things the Guardian is allowed to do and what steps must be taken by the Guardian to meet his or her obligations to the incapable person. See How can you become a child's guardian? However, that will require consent from both of the child's parents otherwise, the court will have to find by clear and convincing evidence, that the child's parents are unfit to provide for the care and control of the child. We are not a law firm, or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The petitioner will be required to present the court with evidence that the parents of the child are not adequately caring for the child and that it would be in the child’s best interest to be removed from the care of their parents. This can be set out in a will or is determined in accordance with the tariff laid down by the Master of the High Court. A legal Guardian is someone with the legal authority to care and make decisions for a minor child or incapacitated adult. Carol represents persons who wish to adopt their stepchild(ren) and parties in post-dissolution Family Court proceedings who are seeking modification of child custody orders. Terms of Use and How Do I Become a Legal Guardian? Typically, a parent or parents are responsible for the underage child. The best way to do this is to spell it out in your will. Margolis holds a bachelor of arts degree in biology, a master's degree in counseling and a paralegal certificate. This could include documentation showing the biological parent is unfit. My husband has 2 minor children. © LegalZoom.com, Inc. All rights reserved. The law says that a person can't become a guardian by just writing it in an agreement (this includes parents who aren't guardians). A legal guardian is a person who takes on legal responsibility for another person. 2. 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