Child Guardianship

Guardians exercise parental responsibilities for a child and only a guardian may claim parenting time for a child. Parental responsibilities include:

• Making day-to-day decisions and having day-to-day care, control and supervision of the child;
• Deciding where and with whom the child will live and associate;
• Making decisions about the child’s education and extracurricular activities;
• Making decisions involving the child’s health and providing or withdrawing consent for any medical treatment;
• Making decisions involving the child’s cultural, religious, or spiritual upbringing; and
• Exercising any other responsibilities or making any other decisions necessary to nurture the child’s development.

Guardians must exercise their parental responsibilities in the best interests of the child. If there is more than one guardian for a child, they need to consult with each other when exercising parental responsibilities. These parental responsibilities can also be allocated between guardians in an agreement or court order.

Both parents of a child are guardians for that child if they are living together. Both parents continue to be guardians for a child after they separate. However, a parent who has never resided with his or her child is not a guardian, unless there is an agreement or court order establishing guardianship or unless that parent regularly cares for the child. Additionally, a step-parent does not automatically become a child’s guardian.

A parent who is not a guardian for a child can become appointed as a guardian through a court order, an agreement with the other parent, or through a will.

A person who is not a parent for a child can become appointed as a guardian only through a court order or a will. This includes step-parents, grandparents, siblings, other relatives, or someone who is not related to the child. A guardianship appointment through a will does not take effect unless the proposed guardian accepts the appointment.

A parent can lose guardianship if both parents agree that one of them will no longer be a guardian. In limited circumstances, one parent may apply to the Court for an order terminating guardianship for another parent.

If you are a looking to become a guardian for a child, or are a parent experiencing difficulty working with another guardian, contact Jiwa Law Corporation for a consultation. Our experienced family lawyers can take care of your guardianship applications and walk you through the process. We also provide you with straight-forward advice to help you navigate your situation and understand your options.

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