There are many instances that may arise in an adult’s or a child’s life that require the establishment of guardianship. Guardianship of a minor may be necessary if a child’s parent or parents are no longer able to care for that child. This can be due to a death, drug or physical abuse, imprisonment, military obligations, or a number of other possible reasons. A child’s parents are automatically and naturally their guardian, however should they need guardianship from a non-biological parent, a petition must be filed in order to have guardianship established through the legal system.
What rights and obligations does guardianship establish?
Although guardianship and adoption seem very similar, they are different in a few important respects. Adoption allows for non-relative adults to completely step into the shoes of the child’s biological parents and is incredibly difficult to reverse. Guardianship is still somewhat regulated by the court system and can be revoked or terminated if necessary. Once guardianship has been established the guardian is then fully in charge of the child’s well-being. This encompasses the child’s physical, financial and emotional well-being.
How is guardianship of a minor established?
If the minor child’s parent or parents have had their parental rights terminated under chapter 211 of Kansas statutes, or they are deceased, a guardianship with a suitable and consenting adult may be appropriate. The prospective guardian must petition the court stating why they are fit and expressing the necessity of the court to appoint them as guardian. After the petition is filed with the court, there may be an investigative period and the court will schedule a hearing date.
At the hearing the court will review any necessary reports, and hear all relevant testimony from family members, the child’s parents (if applicable), other family members of the child and the prospective guardian(s). After fully evaluating and analyzing the entirety of the situation and the best interest of the child, the judge will make a decision. If he or she feels guardianship is appropriate, they will issue Letters of Guardianship. These Letters act as legal proof that the child essentially has new parents who have the ability and duty to care for the minor in the way they see best fit.
Sometimes guardianship in a limited capacity is more appropriate for the needs of the child and can also be established. It may be helpful to contact an experienced Kansas family law attorney to ensure the child receives the appropriate type of guardianship, and you receive the most appropriate kind of assistance. In either capacity, once an adult has established guardianship of a minor, all parental decision-making authority is passed to the guardian. This includes custody decisions, general care and overall upbringing of the child.
If you are considering guardianship, or know a child who needs a guardian, let us help you through the process. We know establishing guardianship can be confusing and difficult and we want to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for you and your family. Our experienced team of Kansas Family Law lawyers has extensive knowledge in the area of guardianship and has helped many children and families through the process. We will put your family at ease throughout the guardianship process and take care of everything so you don’t have to. Call a Kansas Guardianship Lawyer at McDowell Chartered Legal Services today at (316) 633-4322 to see how we can successfully assist you with your minor guardianship matter.