Guardianship refers to a court appointed adult who is responsible to make decisions and care for another. It is designed to protect personal and property rights of another individual. This could be for a child who is still a minor or for an incapacitated adult. Here, let’s take a look at what is involved in guardianship of a minor child.
Who is a Child’s Guardian
A child's parents are the child's natural guardians and usually act for the child. In short, the guardian has the care, custody, and control of the child and is responsible for providing for food, clothing, shelter, education, and all the medical and dental needs of the child. The guardian should also provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional growth of the child.
When Does the Court Designate a Guardian
If both parents die, become incapacitated, or are incapable of caring for the child, the court must appoint a guardian. At such a time, a written declaration needs to be submitted to the court naming a guardian for the child. Another instance for naming a guardian is if a child receives an inheritance or proceeds of a lawsuit or insurance policy exceeding $15,000. It’s important to note that parental rights are suspended as long as a guardian is appointed for a minor. Sometimes, the same person can be appointed as the guardian of the child as well as for the estate (property). Under other circumstances, the court will appoint two different people.
Guardianship of a child automatically ends when the child reaches 18 years of age, is adopted, marries, is emancipated by court order, enters into active military duty, or dies. If none of these events has occurred, the child, a parent, or the guardian may petition the court for termination of guardianship. But, in these circumstances, the petitioner must prove that the guardianship is no longer necessary or that termination of the guardianship is in the child's best interest.
Anyone can be appointed a child’s guardian, though it’s important to keep in mind that all efforts must be strictly in the best interest of the child. Guardians must be represented by a lawyer who serves as “attorney of record.” In most instances guardians are required to furnish a bond and may be required to complete a court-approved training program. The clerk of the court reviews all annual reports submitted by guardians for approval. A guardian who does not properly carry out his or her responsibilities may be removed by the court.
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David F. Anderson attorney at law located in Miami, Florida specializes in Family law, Residential real estate, Mortgage law, Title insurance, Commercial real estate, Condominium law, Medicaid planning, Corporate structures, Asset protection, long term care, Bankruptcy, and Association Law throughout Miami-Dade County, Florida and the surrounding area.