Legal Guardianship: A Comprehensive Overview
Family law is inherently complex and difficult to understand due to various intricacies and variables involved that come into play. Especially, when it relates to the safekeeping of a child, the legal classifications can be quite confusing. Many people fail to differentiate between guardianship and custody; however, both of these terms refer to different things.
How is Legal Guardianship Different from Custody?
The primary difference is the parentage of the child. While custody is granted to the biological parent of the child, the legal guardianship on the contrary is offered to an individual other than their parent. As a matter of fact, there are some instances where a child is under the guardianship of a person while, at the same time, remains under the custody of their parents.
Primarily, there are two types of child custody: physical and legal. The former relates to the child’s daily life such as medical care, living arrangement, and other provisions while the later concerns with making major choices on their behalf. There are many occasions where a parent is awarded partial custody and permitted to live with them for a specific period of time, but they are not allowed to make any official decision on their behalf.
How is Legal Guardianship Different from Adoption?
In several ways, guardianship can be considered as an adoption, excluding the fact that in a guardianship, the biological parents of the child are still legally considered as their parents (in case of an adoption, the parents surrender the legal rights to their child).
The primary responsibility of a legal guardian is to take decisions in the best interests of the child when their parents are unable to do so. The reasons may vary, ranging from incapacitation, disability, or imprisonment to death. In most cases, a child’s relative such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle are appointed as their legal guardian.
There are various scenarios where a relative is granted a temporary guardianship, which lasts for a specific period to fulfill a specific purpose. In some instances, the court must have to appoint a guardian due to an emergency; for example, a child is facing immediate risk of danger or harm or is unable to make a decision on their own behalf.
How to Become a Legal Guardian?
A relative or individual who is interested in being named as a guardian of a child must file a request in the court. A family lawyer can provide assistance in the process of filing and submission of the necessary paperwork and offer guidance about the legal procedure to obtaining guardianship of a child. The guardianship comes up with a set of responsibilities which are not only limited to taking care of a child’s physical wellbeing but extends to taking major decisions for them.
Legal guardianship can often present several complications, especially in presence of a custodial arrangement. Therefore, it is critical to learn about it, particularly if you are looking forward to assuming the role of a legal guardian of a child. A family lawyer can be helpful for you to develop an understanding of the concept of guardianship.
Moreover, if you are involved in a custody dispute, which involves factors pertinent to guardianship, having an experienced family lawyer will help you to navigate the legal predicaments related to your case and provide legal representation to ensure that the rights of you and your child remain protected.
If you wish to learn more about this subject or want to schedule a free consultation, contact the Law Office of Fedor Kozlov at 847-241-1299 to speak with an experienced family lawyer.