Guardianship Lawyers in Clarksville Helping You Take Care of Loved Ones
Because children’s brains aren’t fully developed, and they don’t yet have the skills or decision-making power to be able to be out on their own in the world, society recognizes that they need someone to take care of them and prepare them for adult life. Under ideal circumstances, this role would be filled by the child’s parents, but unfortunately, we operate in a world that is very often less than ideal. If a child’s parents are unable to properly care for them, the courts may decide that appointing another legal guardian is necessary.
Guardianships can be complex family law cases, and it’s a situation where emotions run high. It’s important for all involved to have a clear understanding of what guardianship means. If you are someone who is seeking to be a guardian of a child, you can find more information below.
If you are interested in finding out more about applying for guardianship of a child or another loved one, or you just need more information on the legal process, our firm can help. Contact Hibbeler & Associates to schedule a free consultation. We will talk with you about your specific needs and end goal and explain what your options are to get there.
What Does Legal Guardianship Mean?
Legal guardianship means that you have the right and responsibility to make decisions on another person’s behalf. For example, parents are the assumed legal guardians of their children until a need shows otherwise. If a parent becomes unable to take care of the child, someone else must be appointed as a legal guardian so that there is someone who is legally responsible for the child and is there to make decisions regarding health care and education and provide financial support.
Under What Circumstances Could a Person Need Guardianship?
Guardianships often come into play when there are minor children whose parents are not able to care for them. This could be because they have passed away or because they cannot be found, but it can also happen in cases where a parent becomes disabled or otherwise incapacitated to the point that their care of the child is compromised. It’s also possible for adults to need guardianship. This usually happens when someone is mentally or physically disabled or is dealing with mental health issues that affect their ability to make decisions in their own best interests.
Who Can Be a Legal Guardian?
The main requirements to be a legal guardian are that you must be a legal adult and you have to have the means to provide care for the person under the guardianship. In the case of a legal guardian for a child, the person must be able to financially support the child and be able to provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. In many cases, a legal guardian is a family member, but it can also be a family friend. Foster parents can be named legal guardians of children as well. In the case of an adult, which is often referred to as a conservatorship, the guardian can be anyone who has the means to support and care for the person and who is able and willing to act in the person’s best interests.
How Long Does a Guardianship Last?
For guardianships involving children, the courts prioritize appointing a guardian who can stay the child’s guardian until the child reaches the age of 18. The goal is to minimize further disruption to the child’s life and give them a sense of stability and security. For adult conservatorships, guardianship stays in place unless and until the courts decide that the person is again able to take care of and make decisions for themselves. It is possible for a conservatorship to last forever, but there is always the option for someone to file to change or end it.
Situations that require guardianship are often time-sensitive, which means you need to talk to a family law attorney as soon as you are considering guardianship. Speak to a member of our team to schedule your consultation and get the process started when you call 931-236-2711.