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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.

All about the process of guardianship of a minor in Mass.

Some children are left in a position where their parents are unable to care for them or make decisions on their behalf. In this situation, family member or friend of that child may decide it is in the child's best interests to seek guardianship of a minor. A guardian is a person who helps a minor make legal decisions that the child cannot otherwise make on his or her own. Guardians can help minors in other ways such as their day to day care or well-being.

A ward is, in this case, the minor who is looked after by the guardian. A guardian functions in many ways, like a parent would in looking after a child. He or she provides residence and assistance with housing, medical or public assistance benefits. Since the minor may have finances in his or her name, it is the guardian's responsibility to manage the minor's finances appropriately. This means helping the minor to make healthy financial decisions.

Keep in mind that the paperwork is just one part of the guardianship process. There must be a strong feeling of emotional attachment and a genuine care for the ward's well-being. Hopefully, guardianship is just a temporary arrangement until minors can be reunited with their parents. This may or may not always be the case depending if a minor's parents are unable to properly care for their child.

It is a big deal for a person to apply for guardianship of a minor. There are many responsibilities one may not necessarily foresee. Think of the arrangement much in the way you would think of a parent-child relationship. Obviously, this relationship is crucial to a minor and unlike any other relationship in his or her life. If you think guardianship may be beneficial for you and a minor, consider what legal custody of a child will mean for you.

Source: family.findlaw.com, "Guardianship of Minors," Accessed April 18, 2016

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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