Guardianship is a legal process for a child under the age of eighteen not under a parent’s care. A Massachusetts court can give custody and care of a child to a Guardian if a parent gives permission or the court finds the parent is unable or unavailable to provide care. A Guardian takes on the role of a parent, providing a stable home and making everyday decisions about a child’s health, education, and safety.
What is Guardianship of a Minor?
To obtain the Guardianship of a minor child means that you are obtained legal custody of a child whose biological parents are either unavailable, unfit to parent them or are deceased.
A guardian will step into the shoes of a parent making day to day routine decisions for the child as well as have the powers and responsibilities of a parent regarding a child’s support, care, education, health and welfare.
Who Can Be Guardian of a Minor Child?
A guardian must be at least 18 years old, must live in the United States, and must be competent to care for the child. The adult must be fit to serve as the child’s guardian. The Court checks the guardian’s criminal record and determines whether there has been any Department of Children and Families (formerly known as the Department of Social Services) involvement with the child. A guardian need not be related to the child. A child may have two co-guardians.
What are the Limits to a Guardian’s Decision Making Authority?
A Guardian can make everyday decisions but must ask for the court’s permission in order to:
- Give antipsychotic medications
- Consent to extraordinary medical treatments
- Admit a child to a mental health or developmental disability facility
- Resign or end the guardianship
Guardianship of an Adult
An adult may require a Guardian if he/she has been clinically diagnosed with a mental or physical condition that renders him/her unable to make or communicate effective decisions regarding their own health, safety and daily maintenance.
Rights of the Incapacitated Person
Procedural rights include: (1) the right to an attorney, (2) the right to notice throughout the process, (3) the right to a hearing and (4) the right to be present in person at the hearing.
The Court can limit or tailor a Guardianship to reflect the needs of the individual while still preserving the person’s autonomy.
A Rogers guardianship is one in which the guardian obtains the court’s permission for extraordinary treatment. The types of medical treatments which the court may consider ‘extraordinary’ includes administering of antipsychotic medication, sterilization, abortion, electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery and removal of artificial maintenance of nutrition or hydration, and other treatments and procedures.
What are the Duties of the Guardian of an Adult?
A Guardian’s duties will vary depending on the adult’s abilities and limitations, but generally include the following:
- Ensure a safe and appropriate living condition;
- Provide for the adult’s everyday basic needs and safety
- Make ordinary medical care decisions and arrange for needed treatment
- Provide for the social, educational, recreational and future needs of the adult
- Apply for health insurance and other benefits, if needed
- Advocate for the adult’s legal rights and independence
Let Swanson & Moors, LLC Help You Today
If you have any legal needs regarding guardianship, you can’t afford to pass up a free consultation with an experienced attorney. Contact Swanson & Moors, LLC today.
Swanson & Moors, LLC services all of Plymouth County, Bristol County, Norfolk County, and Barnstable County.