Guardianships in Divorce and Family Law

Answers About Guardianship from a Lawrenceville Divorce Attorney

When parents of minor children divorce, one of the most major decisions that will have to be made is who has child custody. It may be that just one parent gets legal custody, or both parents may have joint legal custody. These decisions are finalized through the court system. Having legal custody basically means that the person or persons who have legal custody are responsible for the care and welfare of the child, including food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, and education. In some cases, circumstances arise in which the parents are incapable of taking proper care of the child, possibly due to economic factors or even unable due to illness. Or the legal guardians (parents) are missing for one reason or another. They could have died or been incarcerated, for example. These situations and others like them may make it necessary for the probate court to appoint a guardian for the child. A divorce attorney in Lawrenceville is crucial in helping to ensure the child is taken care of, whether by the parent(s) or a guardian.

What is a temporary guardianship?

There is also the circumstance where the child's parents (natural guardians) grant a temporary guardianship to another who has physical custody of the child. This also goes through the probate court, and the natural guardian(s) must put in writing their wish for this, or they must receive legal notice by the court of the proceedings. During this temporary guardianship, the guardian has all the rights and responsibilities that the natural guardians (parents) had. A temporary guardianship does not terminate the rights of the parents on permanent basis. Further, if the natural guardians do not agree to the temporary guardianship, usually the court cannot enforce it. There are some special circumstances where the court can decide on a temporary or permanent guardianship of a minor.

If the minor's parents are no longer living and they did not appoint a legal guardian in their wills, or it has been shown that the parents have not taken proper care of the child through neglect or abuse, a guardian may be appointed by the court, even if the parents protest. Anyone seeking guardianship, especially of a minor, will probably have to pass a background check before it is granted. Again, you should consult an attorney in Lawrenceville and surrounding Gwinnett County who is expert in custody and guardianship matters to be sure your rights are preserved and that the interests of the minor are being taken care of. More and more often, grandparents are seeking to obtain guardianship of grandchildren. In today's society, sadly, there are an increasing number of parents who are serving time in jail or prison.

The divorce rate is also rising. Temporary or permanent guardianship by the grandparents are a legal option for minor children, rather than placing them in the foster care system. As a note, guardianship also pertains to adults. As the baby boomers in increasing numbers are approaching that time where they are aging and living longer, the situations where they are unable to take care of themselves are increasing as well. Rising costs may prohibit these individuals from settling into retirement centers. Or dementia, Alzheimer's or other crippling physical and mental conditions may make it necessary for another adult to take on the responsibility of protecting and taking care of them. A guardian would be responsible for making decisions on their behalf, especially concerning their health and caretaking.

Get Expert Help with Guardianships: Lawrenceville Divorce Attorney

Issues of divorce, child custody and guardianships commonly include high emotions and stress. These are reasons enough to consult experienced attorneys to help sort out the relevant factors that lead to the best possible outcome for parents and minor children. The law offices of Fox Firm, P.C., serving Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County, are experts who will provide the right professional advice and guidance needed.