Responsibilities of guardians in California-Part I

24 Oct Responsibilities of guardians in California-Part I

Normally, biological parents bear the responsibility of raising a child. However, under certain circumstances, the court may entrust guardianship of a child to a person other than a parent. If parents have died or if they are unable to take responsibility for caring for their child, that responsibility is sometimes entrusted to a relative of the child through legal guardianship.

However, before a person becomes a guardian, he or she needs to answer several questions. The first being, “Am I capable of taking on responsibility of the child?” Guardianship makes a person liable for the health and well-being of the child. A guardian must also keep records and manage the child’s finances. As a parent, the guardian takes complete responsibility of the child, which can impact the biological parents’ relationships with the child, if the parents are still alive. The guardian should think carefully about whether he or she can invest the time and energy required for guardianship.

Another important question that a person needs to ask before taking on guardianship is, “Do I have enough money?” The child may get child support or may have inherited funds from a dead parent; yet a guardian may have to provide additional financial support as well. Problems may also crop up if the child’s parents interfere with the guardian’s relationship with the child. A prospective guardian should consider these questions carefully before agreeing to be a guardian.

After taking on guardianship, the person will have a lot of responsibilities and decisions to make regarding the child: where the child will live, where the child will attend school and assessing whether the child needs special care, such as tutoring or medical treatment. If the guardian relocates, then the court may need to be notified.

Source: Courts.CA.gov, “Duties of a Guardian,” Accessed on Oct. 12, 2014

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