Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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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.

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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.

Any child needs special attention and care to ensure a promising and healthy adulthood. However, special needs children often have other needs that children without special needs typically do not have. They may be physically unable to do certain tasks or they may not have the mental capacity to understand everyday activities. It is important, more than ever, for these special needs children to have adults, or guardians, in their lives that can help them with the everyday child-rearing and the financial responsibilities of managing a child's needs and estate.

After selecting the correct guardian and going through some of the specifics, it may be time to meet with a legal professional to complete the process. This would include getting signatures and going over clauses of the contract in writing. This can be handled a lot of smoothly if a parent is available and willingly involved in arranging a guardian of a minor for a special needs child either for immediate needs or in the future.

For special needs children especially, it can be crucial to have a back-up plan to a child's main care-giver, like a parent. Arranging these things yourself rather than having the child and their future care-giver figure it out later can be better for the child and for everyone involved. Obviously changing a child's guardian can be a confusing and stressful process for a special needs child. Arranging the logistics first-hand can really have a beneficial impact for the child in question.

Source:, "Ten things to think about: Picking a guardian for your child," Accessed February 13, 2017

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