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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 Archives

Understanding Grandparents' rights in Massachusetts

While parents are granted custodial rights to their children at birth, there are certain situations that may arise that require someone else to care for those children. These cases are rare though. But, that should not dissuade a grandparent who believes that the best interests of a child would be best served if they became the primary caretaker and guardian of their grandchild.

Massachusetts guardianship of a minor hearings

A few weeks ago, this blog covered some of the very basics of beginning the process of becoming a legal guardian for a child. An adult may do this if, for some reason, the child's parents are not capable of taking care of him or her, due to illness, incarceration, or other circumstances. We discussed who can file a petition for guardianship, and the fact that certain people, such as the child's parents or other relatives, will need to be served notice of the time and date the court sets for a hearing. But, what will generally happen at such a hearing?

First steps for Massachusetts guardianship of a minor

In an ideal world, all children would be taken care of by happy, healthy parents. Unfortunately, that is not the world that Massachusetts residents live in. Parents of minor children can reach a point where they are unable to care for their kids, either due to illness, substance abuse problems, or incarceration, among other reasons. When this happens, someone needs to step in to look out for the children. In many cases this is a family member or friend. However, to be able to legally make many decisions for children and properly care for them, these individuals may need to become the children's legal guardians.

Can a guardian for a special needs child be appointed by parent?

When it comes to your children, there is nothing you wouldn't do for them. Sometimes circumstances can render a parent unable to care for their child. Whether this is due to an inability to care for them due to health, or other personal issues, it is important to ensure your child is cared for. It is possible to plan for this scenario by appointing a guardian to take over for duties that a parent would typically endure.

Grandparents' rights are possible but not always clear-cut

The bond between grandchild and grandparent can be really special. Sometimes, grandparents even care for grandchildren in a way that is more parental. They may financially support them, care for their day-to-day needs and even discipline, when necessary. However, even if a grandparent is caring for a child and acting like a parent, they may not have any legal rights.

How is being a guardian different from being a parent?

There aren't many joys greater than the joy of being a parent. However, being a parent is a big responsibility and for one reason or another, some parents may not be able to complete their parental responsibilities. Oftentimes in these unfortunate situations, a guardian will step in to complete parental duties and to look after the minor. Massachusetts family court may find it in a child's best interest to appoint a guardian to their case, if one is able and willing.

Attain guardianship of the special needs child in your life

When it comes to seeking guardianship of a child, there is no exception to the particularway the process should be handled and approached. Special needs children have just that, extenuating circumstances surrounding their lives that need to be handled in a certain way. While all children need a high level of care and attention, special needs children require a little extra.

Grandparents may need to step in to care for grandkids

Sometimes, parents are not the best versions of themselves. This can lead to an unsafe living environment for children for a number of reasons. Grandparents, who love their grandkids very much, may feel that they are a child's best guardian, whether temporarily or long-term. Guardianship is a legal option that grandparents may opt for when seeking physical or legal custody of grandchildren.

Obtaining guardianship of a child in Massachusetts is possible

Every family's situation is different. Sometimes, despite a parent's best intentions, their parenting abilities are not up to par. This can happen for various reasons, but, regardless of why it happens, a family member or loved one often decides that they want to step in to gain guardianship of the minor in question. Guardianship is a legal term that grants legal custody of a child to a family member or relative.

What is different when seeking special needs guardianship?

All children are special. Some even more-so than others, in that they were born or developed certain mental or physical differences that may leave them needing extra care and attention to ensure their well-being. These children are what are considered children with special needs. If seeking guardianship of a child that fits this description in Massachusetts, there are a few things one must understand about the process that is specific to special needs children.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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