When parents are unable to care for their child, a guardian may be appointed by the court. Sometimes, servicemembers being deployed to combat zones establish a guardianship to cover the period of their deployment.
Guardians are only appointed for children under the age of 18. If someone 18 years of age or older cannot make his or her own decisions, a conservatorship is required.
A guardianship is a court-supervised proceeding in which an adult is appointed guardian of a minor to protect the minor’s person and/or money.
Guardians can be appointed of the person to make medical, education, and personal care decisions for the minor. Guardians can be appointed of the estate to make financial decisions for the minor. Many times, it is appropriate to combine the two and have one guardian serve as both guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.
Guardianships are most often utilized to protect children whose parents are still alive. Guardianships are often sought by relatives who seek to provide stability for children, including for cases where children and their parents are separated for work, such as for military families.
Guardianships are also often established when a minor loses their parents, receives an inheritance, proceeds from litigation, or has a cause of action to sue someone.