Guardianship: A Necessary Step for
Protecting a Family Member or Loved One 

Legal guardianship services are designed to provide children and vulnerable adults with the safe and stable homes they deserve. Through a judge’s orders, guardianship can be established if the person is unable to take care of themselves. Sometimes, another person needs to step in to act on behalf of the individual. Guardianship is the legal process in which the court removes a person’s rights (ward) and grants those rights to another person (guardian). Guardianships are generally implemented for minors after the loss of a parent or incapacitated adults.

It can be challenging to obtain guardianship – not only because of the legal process but because emotions are often high in these types of cases. You need an attorney knowledgeable about the legal process for guardianship who provides the highest levels of care and compassion for everyone involved.

At Monceaux Law Firm, we are here to support your family and loved ones every step of the way. We understand the difficulties you are facing as a caregiver, especially if you aren’t that person’s legal guardian officially. Family relationships may be at stake when disputes happen, and we are sensitive to the family dynamic, treating everyone involved with the highest levels of dignity and respect.

How Guardianship Cares for the Individual Does a Guardianship Work?

When a person is assigned guardianship of an person, they have legal authority over the individual in their care. The guardian can decide on various life issues, including the living situation, medical care, finances, etc. When a guardian is appointed, they are in charge of things such as: 

  • Providing a safe place for the child or individual to live.
  • Providing life necessities, such as clothing and food.
  • Overseeing the child’s education and supporting academic goals.
  • Caring for the individual’s medical needs, including doctor’s visits and necessary treatments.
  • Assisting the individual in making various life decisions.

In addition to the guardianship of a person, such as a child or vulnerable adult, there are times when a guardian is appointed over an estate when it is necessary to manage that person’s finances and pay their bills. Sometimes, a guardian might be responsible for both the person and their estate. 

  • Guardianship of Children 
    • The most common reasons to need guardianship over children is that their parents are deceased, and legal guardians weren’t appointed before the parents passed. Guardianship may also be appointed if the parents are unable to care for the children for various reasons.

      For example, guardianship might be necessary if the parents are in prison, living with serious health issues, or otherwise unavailable to provide the care the children need.

      A judge makes the final decision about who will be appointed guardian of a child if they are under 18. If the parents are still alive, then guardianship doesn’t terminate the rights of the parents.

      This guardianship does suspend the parents’ ability to make decisions on the child’s behalf. Instead, the newly appointed guardian steps in and takes this responsibility.
  • Guardianship of Adults
    • Sometimes, guardianship is necessary for an adult and/or their estate. Guardianship may be appointed if the person is vulnerable and unable to care for themselves.

      For example, a guardian might be appointed if the adult has disabilities, special needs, a serious medical condition, or is incapacitated for another reason and can no longer care for themselves.

      A guardian is able to make decisions on the adult’s behalf when the person cannot communicate their wishes or lacks the ability to make decisions. For example, when a person with special needs turns or is turning 18, the parents must apply to be the guardian. It may be necessary for the parent(s) to be appointed legal guardian(s) of their child.

      We recommend that this process begins 6 months before the child’s 18th birthday to ensure continuity of care from the parent(s) as the guardian(s).

Navigating the Sensitive Nature of Guardianship 

When guardianship is legally granted by the court, there is often potential for conflict between family members. It is a delicate and emotional time for everyone involved. Therefore, it is important to maintain sensitivity about the situation to minimize division among the family.

For example, if an adult thinks they don’t need help managing their affairs, then it can cause an issue for a guardian to step in and start making decisions on the person’s behalf. At times, there is pushback from others about who should be appointed guardians.

In some situations, guardianship cases are extremely time-sensitive and require immediate attention. Our team at Monceaux Law Firm has the experience necessary to help you navigate the legal process as efficiently as possible, helping you finalize the guardianship in a timely manner.

Not only do we help you through the process of becoming a guardian, and guardianship petitioning, but our legal team also ensures that you understand your responsibilities for caring for the individual when serving as guardian.

How To Open A Guardianship Case Process of Being Appointed As Guardian

If you want to be the guardian of a child or adult, then there is a specific legal process that must be followed. Even if you are already caring for the individual, it is essential that you go through this process to have the legal authority to make decisions for the person and gain legal responsibility for the person’s needs. This process may vary depending on the county and court in which the guardianship appointment occurs.  

  • Initial Forms Process: Certain forms need to be completed to provide information to the judge about who you are, other people who will be co-guardians, whom you want to care for, and why guardianship is necessary. We will need to meet with you to gather information about you, the person you are seeking to be appointed guardian of (and their family members), and why the guardianship is necessary. 
  • Serving Filing and Serving the Petition: Once the petition for guardianship is complete and filed with the court, then copies of the paperwork petition need to be “served” to the adult, their relatives, and other agencies involved in the situation. It’s your responsibility to ensure the documents are properly served.
  • Attorney Ad-Litem: In every guardianship case, the court appoints an attorney to represent the person whom the guardianship is sought over (ward). That attorney is known as the Attorney ad litem and is responsible for representing and advocating on behalf of the ward.
  • Hearing with a Judge: Next, a hearing must occur with the judge, involving the proposed guardians and the adult who needs care. The judge reviews the information and determines who should be granted guardianship in the situation.  
  • Completing the Paperwork: Additional paperwork must be completed after the judge appoints the guardian. You must fill out the necessary forms and file them with the court to finalize the guardianship. 

An attorney experienced with guardianship is a valuable resource to help you navigate the many forms that need to be filled out to open a case and complete the guardianship process. 

Legal Help for Guardianship

Do you need help with petitioning for guardianship? Reach out to Monceaux Law Firm to schedule a consultation and learn more about this process. We’ll review your case and recommend the type of legal assistance you need.

We provide family law services in Dallas/Fort Worth and the surrounding areas. Rest assured that you are working with an experienced team you can trust. Call at your earliest convenience to book a consultation. We are here to help!

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