A guardianship is a legal status that allows a the guardian to make important decisions for another person, also known as the ward. A guardianship over a person allows the guardian to make decisions about the ward’s medical treatment, living situation and education. A guardianship over an estate allows the guardian to manage the ward’s finances and make decisions regarding how money in the estate should be spent for the ward’s benefit.
The most common situation where a guardianship is needed involves minor children. If parents are unable to care for their children, a relative or other person may step in to take care of the children and file for guardianship. A guardianship over a child allows the guardian to act as a child’s legal custodian.
An adult can also have guardianship over another adult if the person is incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions regarding medical care or finances. Obtaining a guardianship over an adult may require a couple extra steps that are not required for a guardianship over children. A physician or other qualified person may need to testify in person or in an affidavit that the adult is incapable of making their own decisions due to their incapacity.
The first step in filing a guardianship is to file a petition in state court with all necessary information. The petition will need to list information about the proposed guardian, the ward, the reason the guardianship is needed, what property the ward owns and any other relevant information. After the petition is filed, all interested parties must be served. This usually includes the biological parents if the proposed guardianship is over a minor child.
After all parties required by law to be served have been given notice, the court may schedule a hearing. It may be possible for any person who has legal guardianship over a person to consent to a guardianship. For example, a parent who is currently unable to care for a child due to life circumstances such as an addiction or homelessness may decide to sign legal rights to custody of their child to a relative or to the state. A parent who signs custody to their children over to someone else does not lose their parental rights.
A guardianship may be either temporary or permanent. A temporary guardianship may be entered by a court for a specified period of time or until a court makes it permanent. A permanent guardianship lasts until it is terminated by a court or the reason for the guardianship ends, such as minor children turn 18.
If you have questions about guardianship in Texas, contact Cedar Park attorney Justin M. Jackson. He is an experienced family law attorney who may be able to assist clients who wish to file for guardianship by advising them of their legal rights, drafting pleadings and presenting the case to a judge. Mr. Jackson may also be able to assist clients who wish to terminate a guardianship or contest the entry by a court of an order granting guardianship over a person or an estate.
For more information on our Cedar Park Family Law Attorney, please visit our site.