Families can take a variety of shapes. While some are strictly biological in nature, others are built through legal processes like adoption. Guardianship is another way for individuals to provide a child in need with a safe and stable home, but many Californians are unfamiliar with the process and what it entails. We hope that this post will help shed some light on the duties that are carried out by guardians.
There are a number of responsibilities that come with being a guardian. Generally speaking, a guardian has the same legal rights and responsibilities as those carried by a parent. This means that a guardian can choose where the child is to reside, where he or she attends school, and whether the child receives any type of medical treatment, including mental health treatment. On a yearly basis, a guardian is required to file a report with the court updating it as to how things have been progressing. A guardian will also have to be willing to allow social workers and court investigators to enter their homes to check on the status of the guardianship, thereafter reporting to the court.
There are a number of other responsibilities that could impact whether one decides to become a guardian. For example, a guardian will likely be responsible for acts carried out by the child, which may include property damage. In some of these instances, a guardian may even be accused of inappropriate supervision, which can have its own legal consequences. Also, a guardian has to be careful with the child's access to his or her parents. This should be addressed with the court, and a guardian needs to ensure that the child is only residing with him or her.
Although these risks and responsibilities may seem overwhelming to some, the joy of being a guardian can far outweigh any risks associated with it. Before agreeing to a guardianship, though, individuals need to carefully consider their own circumstances and whether they align with the child's needs. An experienced family law attorney may be able to help those considering guardianship address any legal questions they may have.