Family law recognizes a number of circumstances in which a legal guardian should be appointed. There are many situations in which children are living in unhealthy and unhappy environments. Family laws will allow a relative or a friend of the child's family to file legal forms with the local State court to petition for legal guardianship.
In cases of abuse and neglect, family law will recognize that taking guardianship rights away from the child's parents and giving this responsibility to an appointed guardian would be in the child's best interest.
In many cases, the parents of a minor are unable to care for the child or do not make enough money to afford the responsibility of supporting the child. The child may not be receiving adequate care. Food may be sparse and medical care may not be feasible. The parents of the child may not be able to afford housing or other basic necessities, such as clothing.
The house in which a child is living may be unsafe due to alcohol and drug abuse by the child's parents. In situations such as these, family laws will allow a responsible individual to petition the local State court in order to assume responsibility of the child and to provide them with proper care and a better life.
Family laws also allow the parents of a minor to appoint a legal guardian for their child. The individual that the parents choose will assume the responsibility of caring for the child, and family laws will recognize this individual as the child's new legal guardian. This may occur if the parents of a child feel that they are unable to care for the child and that there is someone else who would be better able to care for the child and provide the child with more opportunities.
Many times parents will create a will and specify who they want to obtain legal guardianship of their child in the event that they die. If something should happen to the parents of the child, then, in most cases, family law will acknowledge that the child is now the responsibility of the individual that the parents appointed.
In some cases, the court will decide that the individual that the parents appointed as the legal guardian is unfit to handle the responsibility. In situations such as this or if the parents of a child did not choose a guardian, then family law allows the court to appoint a guardian for the child. The guardian that they choose will usually be a relative or a close friend.
In many family law cases, especially in situations of divorce or abuse, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is usually an attorney and is responsible for representing a child and the child's wishes in a guardianship case. The guardian ad litem ensures that the child's best interests are being considered. Family laws and the regulations involved with appointing a legal guardian have been instituted in order to protect children and make sure that they receive adequate care.