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Standard for receiving guardianship without consent

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, there are many people in Springfield who know children whose parents are simply not willing or not able to care for them properly.

Things like drug addiction or mental illness can easily handicap a parent to the point where they can no longer safely provide for their children. However, these parents may not be willing to just agree to let someone else take care of their kids, perhaps because they fear losing them permanently or because they are just not thinking clearly.

In other cases, it may be that the parent is difficult to locate and getting that parent’s formal agreement to a guardianship is next to impossible.

Although it is usually easier to get guardianship over a child when a parent consents, it is still possible for a relative or friends of a child to seek and obtain legal custody of a child through a guardianship even when the parent does not agree. However, in order to do so, the court will have to hold a hearing and, at the end of that hearing, conclude that the parents of the child are either not able or are not fit to have custody of their children.

Because parental rights are important both in Massachusetts and throughout the United States, a guardian will have to provide strong evidence that the parents are indeed unable or unwilling to care for their child. Close cases will tend to be resolved in favor of the parents.