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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Guardianship of a minor

Usually, when a couple with minor children part ways, one of the parents obtains physical custody of the children. However, in some cases, neither parent is capable of caring for their children, so a guardian is appointed instead. Guardianship of minor children is another area of family law that works to protect the rights of children during custody arrangements.

If the parents of a minor child are unable to provide a safe home for a child, the court can appoint a guardian to do so. A guardian of a minor not only provides shelter and a stable home life, but also takes the caregiver role and makes all primary decisions, such as medical and educational, for the child. When a guardian is appointed for a child, it is only the guardian, not the parents, who can make decisions for the child.

Guardians can be named by the parents or by the court. In cases where the child is 14 years old or older, he may name the guardian. If an application for guardianship is contested by the parents, the court will make the final decision, based on whether or not the parents are unfit caregivers for the child. Guardians must send an annual report to the court to provide an update on the child's life. The guardianship dissolves once the child turns 18 and is no longer considered a minor, or if a guardian petitions the court and is granted the right to end the guardianship.

Unfortunately, a child's parents cannot always do what's best for the child. At times like these a guardian can step in and try to provide a sense of security for children in this unfavorable situation. Because filing for guardianship can be an unusual circumstance for people, it may be wise to seek help from an experienced family law attorney. These attorneys know what forms the court needs and can provide the assistance to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Source: Massachusetts Court System, "Guardians of Children and Other Non-Parent Caregivers," Accessed on Oct. 8, 2014

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