The primary duty of a guardian in Missouri is to supervise the welfare and safety of the ward. This duty involves protecting not only the conservatee's money and property, but also the ward as a person. The court orders guardianships through a document called “Letters of Guardianship”. The guardianship will last until the child turns 18 or the court changes its order.
Guardianship is NOT the termination of parental authority. Parents can rectify the conditions that led to the appointment of the guardian and, if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child to end the guardianship, the court may do so. There are certain times when guardianship rights can override the wishes of a biological father. This usually occurs when the child is in the physical custody of the guardian.
In such a case, parental authority is not actually terminated. Rather, the rights are suspended until the court deems it appropriate to restore them. During this period, the guardian will be responsible for making all important decisions about the child's life. For more information on how this works in your jurisdiction, contact a child custody lawyer.
When the court issues a guardianship letter, all parental decision-making authority is transferred to the guardian, including all decisions related to the general care, custody, control and upbringing of the child, except that the guardian cannot consent to the future adoption of the child. Court-imposed temporary guardianships will also have a specific period of time in which they will remain valid. Guardianship is a complicated area of law, and anyone considering becoming a guardian should seek legal advice beforehand. In addition to ensuring that parents are properly notified of proceedings, the court also takes steps to ensure that the guardian is appropriate for the child.
At the court's discretion, guardianship may authorize legal control for the upbringing of a child to be transferred to a non-parent or to another adult with whom the child already has a relationship, such as a grandparent. Therefore, it is possible for a guardian to have custody of a child even when the parent still has parental authority. The new modifications include allowances for all family members to participate in the guardianship decision, a background check requirement for some potential guardians, new planning requirements and more. However, when the parents of a child have died, or do not want to, cannot, or are considered unfit to assume parental duties, or if the parent has had parental authority terminated under chapter 211, a guardianship with a fit and willing adult may be appropriate.
Part of being the guardian of an adult or an older child is evaluating whether your conservatee can understand these rights and then making your personal recommendation as your designated caregiver. This form of guardianship is one in which someone is legally responsible for a person's property, assets, or estate. When looking for a lawyer for matters related to guardianship, conservatorship, or child custody, you should do some research on your options. In many cases, it is the child's parent or the adult offspring of an older person with a disability.
Guardianship actions are filed with the probate court and are governed by Chapter 475 of the Probate Code. A lawyer can also help you establish finances for a disabled adult who will eventually come under someone else's guardianship. Whatever your experience, as a guardian or as a parent, understanding how guardianship and parental rights work in relation to others can give you the information you need to make decisions about the legal steps you need to take next. This week, the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri resolved a guardianship case with a set of very interesting facts that highlight the importance of guardianship statutes in providing children with adequate guardians in times of crisis.