There are times when a guardian is needed, either for a minor or dependent child, or for a disabled adult. A guardian oversees and supervises the life of a person in need of such supervision and may be responsible for reporting to the Court all significant aspects of that person’s life.

Guardianship of a dependent child – This is a proceeding where the potential guardian or other competent adult seeks to act in a capacity similar to the parent of the child. Guardianship may be sought for any of a number of reasons, including but not limited to a need for the child to reside in a home other than a parent’s home or the need for an additional person to have the authority to act in the capacity of a parent, such as when medical services must be authorized. Guardianship of a minor requires ether the consent of parents (when the parents’ locations are known,) or a finding by the Court that such guardianship is in the child’s best interests. Unlike adoption, guardianship does not terminate the rights of the biological parents. As such, a guardianship may add additional adults to the child’s life who are able to act in the capacity of parent. A guardianship can be terminated upon proper showing to the Court that the guardianship is no longer necessary or desirable. Children over the age of 14 can petition for their own guardianship. Guardianships may be granted on a temporary or permanent (plenary) basis. If there is a dispute over the need for a guardianship, or whether the person seeking the guardianship is the best person to perform the function, then the Court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to investigate and make recommendations.

Guardianship of a disabled adult. Unfortunately, due to medical, mental or other conditions, some adults lose the ability to manage their lives independently or without assistance. In such a case, a guardian may be advisable to oversee the disabled adults person and/or financial affairs. A proceeding for guardianship of an alleged disabled adult requires a proper showing to the Court that the person is disabled and in need of protection of his personal and/or financial affairs. The Court will generally appoint a GAL to investigate the person and his or her circumstances and report to the Court whether that person is capable of living independently or without supervision.

Attorney Judy Goldstein is experienced in handling guardianships, both for minor children and on behalf of alleged disabled adults. She has also acted as court appointed GAL in guardianship cases.

To discuss guardianship, whether of a child or needy adult, please contact Goldstein & Associates online or by calling (708) 479-0800.