Stand by Guardianship
Usually, only a parent of a child has the responsibility to decide about the care of the child. But sometimes a parent can no longer take care of their child. When this happens, a person that is not the parent can get legal guardianship.
A standby guardian is a person who will take over as guardian when a parent or legal guardian can no longer care for a child. A parent or guardian must designate the standby guardian. This must be done in writing. The designation must be witnessed by at least 2 people who are at least 18 years old. A witness cannot also be the person trying to be the short-term guardian.
A short-term guardian is responsible for the child for one year or less. The parent or guardian picks the short-term guardian. The parent or guardian does not need to go to court, but the agreement must be in writing.
The agreement must be witnessed by at least 2 people who are at least 18 years old. A witness cannot also be the person trying to become the short-term guardian. The short-term guardianship can’t last for more than one year. The written agreement should state the exact date the guardianship ends. Or the agreement can state the guardianship ends if an event happens. For example, if the parent returns from active military duty.
The short-term guardian does not have to be related to the child. A parent or guardian can end the short-term guardianship at any time. Only one short-term guardian can exist at any one time. If the child has assets such as property or money, a short-term guardian will not have control over these. In order for a guardian to control these assets on the child’s behalf, a permanent guardianship is needed.
Guardian ad litem (GAL)
A guardian ad litem, or a GAL, is someone a judge names to look into the facts of a case. Although it has the word “guardian” in the name, it is very different from the other types of guardianship. A GAL can recommend what would be in the child’s best interests but cannot make any decisions for the child like a normal guardian. The GAL gives the judge their opinion about who should care for the child. The judge thinks about the GAL’s opinion and then makes a final decision.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact Cesario & Walker today at 630-920-8800 to speak with an experienced divorce, family or child custody lawyer on this issue.