Guardianship is a legal relationship created between two parties. Once done, the guardian will have the authority, and corresponding duty, to care for a person and their property interests. The individual cared for by the guardian is called a ward.
Guardianship of a Child
You can seek appointment as a guardian if you are not the child’s parent. However, to be appointed as guardian of a child, you must be willing to care for and tend to the child’s needs or property interest.
Guardian Ad Litem
A guardian ad litem (GAL) can also be referred to as Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). These individuals are the voice of the child in court. Once appointed, the guardian ad litem may represent the child in a court proceeding. Judges often adhere to any recommendations given by the child’s representative.
An award of guardianship will affect child custody – the rights of a parent to raise and control their child. Under a guardianship, parental rights are limited. While the guardian will have the right to make decisions regarding the child’s care, the parents will be permitted to have reasonable contact with the child.
When a child is adopted, the parental rights of the child’s parents are terminated. The legal relationship between the adoptive party and the child is permanent and is treated exactly the same as if the child was born to that party. An adopted child inherits from his or her adoptive parents, just as a child would.
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