ADA
are you ready?

Before you decide to become a Guardian, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you want legal responsibility for the child?
  2. How will the guardianship affect you and your family?
  3. Do you have enough money?
  4. Will there be problems with the child's relatives?
  5. Can I name a guardian for my children?

For more information on Guardianships, see related pages at this site.

  1. Do you want legal responsibility for the child?

    You will have the same legal responsibilities as a parent, including liability for damages the child may cause. As guardian, you must also manage the child's finances, keep careful records, give the Court reports and ask the Court permission to handle certain financial matters.

  2. How will the guardianship affect you and your family?

    You will be like the child’s parent. This may affect your relationship with other family members. Consider if your health, available time and energy make this a good decision for you.

  3. Do you have enough money?

    The child may get income from Social Security, public assistance, a parent or the estate of a deceased parent. If this is not enough, you may have to spend your own money to raise the child.

  4. Will there be problems with the child's relatives?

    If the child's parents are alive, will they support you as Guardian, or be hostile and interfering? Some parents may contest the Guardianship and/or the Court may say that they can have regular visitation.

  5. Can I name a guardian for my children?

    Yes. You can write a letter naming a guardian and place it with your important papers or write the name of the proposed guardian in your will.

    But if both parents are dead, the Court must appoint the guardian. The Court will try to appoint the person you nominate. But, the Court will also consider what is best for your child and will ask the child what s/he wants.

    Sometimes a parent who is terminally ill can ask the Court to appoint a joint guardian. This can make the transition easier when the parent dies. It gives the sick parent the comfort of knowing their child will be safe with the guardian they chose. And when the parent dies, the joint guardian will have full custody of the child without another guardianship hearing.

More Self-Help pages about Guardianship

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