When a parent is unable to care for his or her child, it may become necessary to consider available legal options to ensure that the child is properly cared for. One of these options is legal guardianship. Through a child guardianship, an appointed guardian is bestowed with what essentially equates to parental rights, but only on a temporary basis. This allows a child to receive adequate care until his or her parent is once again able to provide for him or her on a full-time basis.
As enticing as guardianship may seem to some Californians, it is important to note that it is not the only option for those involved in one of these situations. Many individuals think that they need a guardianship at any time when they are unable to care for their children, but this is not necessarily the case. For example, when a parent voluntarily relinquishes care of his or her child by signing paperwork that allows another to care for his or her child, then a guardianship may not be needed. This document is often referred to as a Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit.
This document will allow a relative to enroll a child in school and take him or her for medical treatment. Those who are not relatives can still enroll a child in school, but they may be prevented from making certain health-related decisions. Also of importance is the fact that these agreements are not backed by a court order. They are also voluntarily entered into, which means that a parent can back out of the agreement at any time, even after its execution, and take the child.
Guardianship, on the other hand, allows a guardian to have court-ordered care of a child. A guardianship cannot be terminated unless certain legal requirements are met, meaning that it is more likely to stay in place until it can be shown that the child is completely safe in his or her parent's care. Additionally, since a guardianship bestows rights on a guardian that are similar to parental rights, a guardian is less likely to run into issues when trying to adequately care for the child.
Legal guardianship can be a powerful tool for California families to ensure that their children are protected. To learn more about guardianship and how it may be beneficial for one's circumstances, it may be worthwhile to consider reaching out to an experienced family law attorney.