Guardianship Lawyers in Westborough, MA Helping Clients Care for Their Loved Ones
Guardianship is when a legal relationship is formed consisting of one person being appointed by the courts to care for another. It can refer to the care for an adult that is incapable of caring for themselves or for a minor child when the parents aren’t able to care for their child at a certain time in their lives. The guardian doesn’t need to be related by blood to the person they are appointed to take care of. A guardian can be a loved one, an aunt/uncle, or another unrelated person, as long as they are 18 years of age or older, they demonstrate the necessary capabilities to care for the other, and they have a clear criminal record. The process can be initiated either by the court or by an advocate seeking guardianship to care for an adult/child in need.
O’Connor Family Law Firm has a team of experienced and trusted attorneys who handle guardianship and other family law matters. Call us at 774-214-2137 today to learn more about how we can help you with your individual case
Why Would Someone Need a Guardian?
Guardians can be appointed in many different cases, each with its own unique set of circumstances. Maybe an adult has developed Alzheimer’s or dementia and is no longer capable of caring for themselves. Maybe a parent has become incapable of caring for their child due to health issues, legal issues, or active duty in the military, for example.
Guardianship can be categorized as general or limited. General guardianship typically is warranted when a person is incapable of common duties such as maintaining housing, performing daily hygiene, feeding and clothing, doing laundry, administering medicine, and meeting other basic needs. Almost all needs are covered in a guardianship agreement, with the exception of financial management, which falls under the conservatorship category.
In the case of an adult who is no longer capable of taking care of themselves due to health concerns and who does not have a family member who is local and able and willing to take over care,a guardian can be appointed. This guardian can then make sure the adult has a consistent quality of life and is taken care of. They are able to assist in medical decisions, safety decisions, and more.
Limited guardianship for an adult can be obtained when the individual is still able to handle basic care of themselves, but medical or safety decisions, for instance, need to be delegated.
When a guardian is necessary for the care of a minor child, things like educational needs, extracurricular activities, health care decisions, housing, feeding, and other basic needs are covered.
Limited needs for a child may be stipulated in a guardianship as well, keeping custody and guardianship separate matters in the eyes of the courts. Typically the custodial parent will retain authority and rights in their child’s lives, but in the event that they aren’t able to assist in all areas, they can determine (or the courts will) what exactly the guardian is able to help with. If it is determined that it is in the best interest of the child, however, parental rights can be suspended or revoked entirely by the courts, and full decision-making rights given to a guardian.
Guardianship can be a great added benefit in a child’s life, keeping their best interests as a priority. For instance, in the case of a minor child whose custodial parent needs to enter a treatment program or is committed to a mental health facility, a guardian may be necessary. The parent can no longer be present for their child for a period of time, so they may seek guardianship, and specific duties such as health care decisions or educational decisions as well as day-to-day needs for the child can be stipulated as they determine necessary. This can also be an example of temporary guardianship, which is another option in which a guardian is appointed for the care of a minor for a period of up to 90 days. A relative or trusted and capable friend of the family may be a great option for a minor child in need of care while their parent betters themselves or are away on active duty, for example.
When Does a Guardianship Agreement End?
If the guardianship involves a minor child, the agreement ends at the time the minor child turns 18 years of age or the guardian dies. When it pertains to an incapacitated adult, it ends when either they or their guardian passes away or in the event of new information presented that proves the adult is no longer deemed incapacitated.
In the event that a guardian no longer wishes to or is able to provide the necessary care for either a minor child or an adult, they can request to be relieved of their responsibilities and replaced. In some instances, the courts will step in at the request of another adult or by their own initiative and take steps to remove a guardian if it is in the best interest of the child or the incapacitated adult.
How Can O’Connor Family Law Help Me?
O’Connor Family Law Firm is a group of experienced and trusted attorneys who have helped several clients just like you to advocate for children or adults that are in need of assistance, keeping their best interests a priority. A guardianship agreement could make the difference in their quality of life, whether it be temporary or for the duration of their lives. Contact an attorney today at 774-214-2137 to discuss how we can best help you with your unique situation and next steps.