Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
Local 413-315-5518
Toll Free 877-622-6089

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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Guardianship Archives

Guardianships and adoptions -- what's the difference?

Many residents of Massachusetts have considered the possibility of becoming a guardian for a minor child or adopting a minor child. Each set of potential parents has its own expectations and wishes about how this addition to their family will affect them. One of the first tasks is to understand the legal differences between an adoption and a guardianship.

Guardianship and government benefits

Many children, particularly special needs children, are eligible for a variety of government benefits at both the state and federal levels. For several reasons, these young residents of Massachusetts may need to have another adult, aside from their parents, take responsibility over them and give them the care and support they need. Sometimes a grandparent or other relative can work toward setting up a guardianship through the Massachusetts courts in order to get legal authority to have custody over a minor child and handle that child's financial affairs.

What is the difference between adoption and guardianship?

This blog has previously discussed various aspects about guardianship over minor children in Massachusetts. Basically, a guardianship gives a child's loved ones the opportunity to step in and take over parental responsibilities when a parent is unwilling or unable to do so.

More children are being raised by grandparents

Recent statistics suggest that more and more grandparents, in Massachusetts and elsewhere, are involved in raising their minor grandchildren until they reach adulthood. According to Census statistics, a little over 1 in 20 homes had a grandchild living with at least one of their grandparents. This is double the number of children living with grandparents in 1970. Of these households, 60 percent actually had the grandparents, or one of them, as the responsible adult in the home.

What can I do when my special needs child turns 18?

As is the case in most states, a child in Massachusetts will reach an age at which, legally, they have both the right and responsibility to handle their own affairs. In this state, a child who is over 18 is an adult and presumably has the ability to take care of themselves. For some, though, help may still be needed to ensure that adult is safe both physically and financially.

Once I have guardianship of a minor, what must I do?

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, grandparents and other concerned relatives may be able to help a child by taking custody of them through guardianship. Hopefully, with the proper legal help, this process can go relatively smoothly, particularly if the child's biological parents are on board with the process.

Options other than full-blown guardianship

As this blog has discussed, guardianship of a minor is an option that relatives of minor children can use when someone needs to step in and take care of those children. This scenario arises often in situations where a parent, due to a drug addiction, mental illness or other issue, is either unwilling or unable to care for their own children.

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Springfield, MA 01103

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