Different Types of Guardianship
If an adult is incapacitated, it may be necessary for that person to have a guardian. In California, the role of an adult guardian is to make legal decisions.
What Is an Adult Guardian?
A guardian is responsible for paying the bills, managing the person’s property, deciding where the person will live, and making any medical decisions. The guardian can also decide with whom the incapacitated person (known as a “ward”) will be allowed to associate and how the ward can spend his or her money. Because of the power the guardian has, he or she must be trustworthy and always consider the ward’s best interests.
Appointing a Guardian in California
The appointing of a guardian is considered to be a last-resort solution. Ideally, an adult would make arrangements to take care of any medical and financial decisions before becoming incapacitated. This would be done by putting together required legal documents through a family law practice lawyer. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen and a person is unprepared for the outcome. In those kinds of cases, an adult may not have all the required legal paperwork in place, and a guardian will need to be appointed. This is often a family member, but that is not a requirement.
Child Legal Guardianship in California
Taking custody of a minor is different than adult guardianship. It does not terminate the parent-child relationship in the way an adoption would, and it doesn’t require a parent being labeled unfit by the court. People use guardianships for a lot of different reasons, not all of which are related to parenting issues or concerns for the well-being of the child based on who has custody of the child. For example, military parents who are deployed or going through a complex, overseas military divorce may have a need for a guardianship for their children.
What Does a Child’s Guardian Do?
Typically, a guardian cares for a child’s personal needs, such as shelter, education, and medical care. A guardian can also provide financial management for a child’s assets although sometimes another person (a “guardian of the estate”) is appointed to do this.
By working with an attorney who handles guardianship issues, you can ask questions, get answers and decide on the best course of action for your legal needs. If you want to seek guardianship of a child or you want someone else to have guardianship of your child, it’s best not to try to do those things alone. The right divorce lawyer can make a difference in the successful outcome of your case.
An emergency guardianship allows you to choose the person who will care for your child or children in case of an emergency. This is often a good alternative to having family members and friends make the decision for you if an emergency occurs. Without going to court, your emergency guardian will be able to make medical decisions, keep your children enrolled in school, and help your child with any financial issues that may arise. That is a very important way to help your child retain some sense of normalcy during a crisis.
While children are very resilient, being able to keep them in their school and help them through any other issues that occur when a parent has an emergency can go a long way toward helping everyone involved get through the problem and find their way out toward the next issue they will need to face. When you need an emergency guardianship proxy, it’s best to work with an attorney to set it up. That can avoid potential problems in the event that it is needed.
Renkin & Associates is a San Diego family law practice well-versed in the intricate details of guardianship. For more information, call our office at 619-299-7100 or email us to schedule a case evaluation.