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Guardianship refers to a legal process designed to protect people who are incapable of caring for themselves, whether they are minors, incapacitated, or disabled. An individual who needs special protection may be appointed a legal guardian by the court. So, if you wonder how to become a legal guardian, it is better to know all the key information firstmost.

How to Become a Guardian of a Child?

Legal guardianship could be required by anyone at any age, depending on the circumstances, but it is most commonly used with minor children. The court can appoint a guardian for a minor if their parents die, abandon them, surrender their parental rights, or are otherwise unable to care for them.

A guardian may be granted two sets of rights: guardian of the person and guardian of the estate. Find out how to become a legal guardian of these two aspects below and how to combine them.

Guardianship
Person

Guardians of minors have the responsibility to provide for the minor’s physical and personal needs, and have the right to consent on their behalf. It is the legal guardian’s duty to provide food, shelter, clothing, and education for the minor. If the child’s parents are living, they are still legally required to provide financial support after a guardian is appointed.

Guardianship
Estate

It is the guardian’s responsibility to take care of the minor’s assets until he or she is able to take care of them themselves. A fiduciary duty requires them to manage the ward’s property responsibly.

It is possible to separate these roles, but both sets of legal responsibilities can be given to one individual aware of how to become someone’s guardian. As with most legal matters involving children, the court will consider many factors when appointing guardians, including:

  • Stability of the proposed guardian

  • Preferences of the child

  • Details about the proposed guardian’s character

  • Relationship between the proposed guardian and child’s family

  • The proposed guardian’s ability to provide proper care

Courts may appoint more than one guardian. Once the family court judge has weighed all the information, including input from any experts, a guardian or guardians may be legally appointed.

In the case of a minor, the guardian acquires parental responsibility. It is their responsibility to feed, clothe, and take care of the child.

However, guardians do not assume the parents’ financial obligations. It is not possible for a court to order a Special Guardian to pay maintenance, for example, or to calculate payments under the Child Maintenance Service (CMS).

Conclusion

Guardianship is something you must be certain you are capable of handling. Requirements to be a legal guardian can be confusing, so it’s important to do things right the first time. You should contact a family law attorney who can help you develop a plan for the future.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How old do you have to be to become a legal guardian?

Individuals willing to become someone’s legal guardians should be of the legal age and sound mind to take the responsibility for an adult or child requiring care.

How much does it cost to become someone’s legal guardian?

It is common for legal guardians to incur only those costs associated with drafting and filing the guardianship petition. In the event that a guardian appointment is challenged by another living person with parental responsibility, this could become more complicated, and legal help and advice are always advised. Your attorney can explain the costs involved.

What is special guardianship?

In the case of special guardianships, the court appoints the guardian pursuant to the Children Act 1989. A Special Guardianship Order is often used as an alternative to adoption since the birth parent’s legal status is not wiped out.

Special guardians can be anyone over 18 who is not a birth parent. Under certain circumstances, the special guardian can make decisions regarding the children even without the consent of the birth parents. Children who have been removed from their families and for emotional reasons do not wish to have their parents’ rights withdrawn may choose to use this method.