| Read Time: 2 minutes | Family Law

Appointing a legal guardian for your children can ensure that they’re well cared for when you can’t be there for them.

Legal guardianship is a court order that allows someone who isn’t the child’s parent to be responsible for the child. Guardians are appointed when the parents pass away before the child reaches adulthood or when the parents are deemed unfit.

Since life is full of unexpected curveballs, it’s smart to appoint a legal guardian for your children. While it’s not legally required that you make that determination now, if you don’t assign a guardian, the court will make the decision for you.

Here are three reasons why you should assign a legal guardian for your children:

1. Assigning a guardian lets you decide who looks after your child.  Appointing a guardian gives you more control of your child’s future in the worst-case scenario. If you don’t assign a guardian, the court may choose someone that’s less than ideal. While the judge considers the best interests of your child, the court doesn’t know your children personally. This means that the judge won’t have a complete understanding of your wishes unless you have a legally binding guardianship in place. Although people traditionally assign other family members as the legal guardian, the appointed person doesn’t have to be a relative of the child.

2. Guardians are allowed to make big decisions for the child. Another reason why you should appoint a guardian is because the assigned guardian will be making important decisions for your kid. In fact, legal guardians have several of the same rights and responsibilities as parents, including:

  • Choosing your child’s school or learning program.
  • Making most medical decisions for the child.
  • Deciding where the child lives. However, to leave California, the guardian will have to get permission from the court.

While the court oversees some childcare decisions pertaining to the guardianship, for the most part, the guardian will play a large role in the child’s upbringing. So it’s best to appoint someone you trust to make the best choices for your child.

3. Guardianship doesn’t mean that you lose all parental rights.  At times, children are removed from the home when parents are deemed unfit. If that happens, the kids may be temporarily under the care of the legal guardian. In those scenarios, the court has the power to end a guardianship if the parents become able to take care of the kids again. So by appointing a guardian, you’ll still retain your parental rights.

What Makes You A Legal Guardian?

Guardianship entails entrusting an adult, distinct from the child’s biological parent, with the legal responsibility for the child’s well-being due to the parent’s incapacity to fulfill that role. It can also involve the management of the child’s financial assets or property in cases where the child possesses substantial holdings.

Can I complete a legal guardianship on my own?

Appointing a guardian is a complicated process and requires parents to fill out several forms and attend court hearings. Pakpour Family Law can help you obtain legal guardianship to ensure that the best interests of your children are carried out now and in the future.

Author Photo

Brian enters the family law profession with a refreshing approach to these proceedings: heal families; don’t destroy them. In some cases, this means the family is going to look different than it did before. In other cases, this means a new family is created where there was none before. Either way, individuals should leave family court knowing their voices were heard, and with healthy attitudes about themselves and those they love.

Read More Legal Blogs By Brian Pakpour

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