How to Become a Legal Guardian to a Minor
A legal guardian is an individual who has legal responsibility for and authority over the interests of a person and their property. Generally, an individual can gain legal guardianship over a minor, or adults incapacitated by age or disability. When a person becomes a legal guardian, their role is to act in the best legal decision-making interests of that person, called their ward. In many cases, wards are children.
For obvious reasons, children are extremely vulnerable; even older, unemancipated teenagers still need the support and guidance of an adult in the form of guardianship.
Types of guardians
Minors have two types of guardians: natural guardians, who are typically their parents, or legal guardians, who are court-appointed after the death, incapacitation of, or absence of the minor’s natural guardians.
Minors may also have a guardian ad litem, or guardian “for the case” as it pertains to legal matters. A guardian ad litem, usually an attorney, advocates for a minor’s best interests in legal matters.
Who can become a legal guardian?
Any U.S. citizen can qualify for guardianship unless they’re otherwise deemed unsuitable. Natural guardians may designate whom they’d like their children’s guardians to be in the event of their deaths. This decision is subject to court approval of the child’s best interests.
Individuals may also petition courts for guardianship of a minor regardless of the minor’s relationship with their birth parents. Courts determine guardianship after the potential guardian files a petition with a clerk and a hearing is held.
What are a legal guardian’s responsibilities?
A guardian’s responsibilities include feeding, housing, and providing for the medical care of a child. Guardians may also manage a minor’s finances.
Who can help me become a legal guardian?
Andrew Sorrentino is a huge advocate for the strength of families and the support of children. Contact the Law Office of Andrew Sorrentino for your guardianship and custody needs.