In the event that a Massachusetts’ child does not receive the care and support that they require from their parents, either through the incapacity or death of those parents, the child may be appointed a guardian to see to their needs. A guardian has many responsibilities to the child that becomes their ward, including but not limited to ensuring that the child has food and shelter, is attending school, receives medical care and has their legal rights protected.
Guardianship of a child can come to an end in a number of ways. One of the most common ways for this legal relationship to end is through the child gaining the age of adulthood. Once a child reaches adulthood they are generally considered competent to care for themselves. In some cases, though, a period of guardianship may extend even after the child surpasses the age of eighteen.
A guardian-ward relationship may also end if the child gets married. The death of the child brings an immediate end to the guardianship relationship. Additionally, a child may be granted a new guardian if their initial guardian fails in their duties to the child and does not act to serve the child’s best interests.
The role of guardian to a child is an important one. When a guardian is appointed it is because the child no longer can rely on the care and support of their parents. Periods of guardianship can extend for years depending upon the age of the child when the guardian is assigned and therefore a guardian should be prepared to support the child’s best interests until they reach adulthood.