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What are the court-ordered duties of a guardian in Massachusetts?

If a Massachusetts parent is unable to look after a child, the court can order a guardian to assume that duty. The guardian is expected to take over the parental responsibility of caring for that child. So, what are the circumstances under which the court will appoint a guardian? The court can appoint a guardian if one of three circumstances is present.

The first circumstance is the death of the child's parents. A second event could be if the parents sign a notarized consent form passing guardianship to a specific individual, such as a grandparent. Lastly, if the child's parents are deemed not fit to raise the child, a guardianship may be granted to a third party.

A guardianship transfers all responsibilities for the child to the third person. This individual cares for the child, addressing daily living needs, educational issues and medical needs. The guardian assumes the role of parent, attending to all the child's issues and making all decisions regarding raising the child, including if the child's parents can visit.

A guardian is also expected to help a child with homework or encourage extracurricular activities, such as sports and music. Guardianship also entrusts an individual with certain other responsibilities, such as taking care of a child's property, if necessary. The guardian is expected to act in the best interests of the child.

Guardianship also requires that the guardian meet certain duties to the court. The guardian is expected to provide the court with an annual report about the child's wellbeing.

Source: MassGuardianshipAssociation.org, "Part 2: Becoming a Child's Guardian," Accessed on Feb.9, 2015

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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