A general legal guardian is an individual who is appointed to assume the rights and the responsibilities of child guardianship for a minor who is not their child. An individual may choose to petition a court in order to become the general guardian of a child. This is often the case if a relative or a friend of the family becomes aware that a child is being mistreated, abused or neglected. If an adult over the age of eighteen notices that a child is not receiving proper care, then that individual may choose to file guardianship papers. A child who has reached fourteen years of age may also nominate someone to be their guardian. Ultimately, the judge makes the final decision on who will receive child guardianship.
In order to begin the process of petitioning for guardianship of a minor, the individual who is petitioning must complete guardianship papers. The guardianship papers can usually be found at a county clerk’s office and they are often available online. The proposed guardian will be responsible for providing information about themselves and the minor for whom they are seeking child guardianship.
The petitioner will have to list the assets of the minor on the guardianship papers. The petitioner will also be required to provide information pertaining to why it is in the best interest of the child to be placed in their care. They may need to show evidence that the child’s parents are unable to provide proper child guardianship. The judge will review all of the facts surrounding the case in order to determine what is in the best interests of the child.
In most cases, the individual who receives child guardianship rights is a family member, such as an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or older sibling. The general guardian may also be a close family friend who loves and cares for the child. Unlike other types of guardianship, a general guardian is responsible for the child’s well-being as well as the child’s finances and estate.
Once the judge appoints a general guardian, the guardian will receive guardianship papers declaring that they are now the legal guardian of the minor, and therefore, have the right to consent to things such as medical treatment. A general guardianship lasts a great deal longer than a temporary guardianship or an emergency guardianship. However, even a general guardianship is not considered to be permanent.
A general guardianship can be ended at any time. If the judge feels that the parents of the child are back on track and able to adequately provide for the child, then the judge may allow the parents to regain custody of the child.