To obtain guardianship of a child, a person must file a petition with the court. A petition is a legal form that allows a person to ask the court for something. Anyone 18 years of age or older can file a petition with the court to become a guardian. A child may need a legal guardian when a parent dies, leaves the country, or becomes too sick to care for the child.
This type of guardianship under Article 17 can be filed in Surrogacy Court or Family Court. A child's guardian may also be named in parents' wills. If the parents die and a Surrogacy Court judge approves, the person named in the will can become the child's legal guardian. A person can only become a legal guardian if they are properly appointed by a court.
Even if the conservatee consents to the guardianship or if a guardian is named in a will, court-issued forms are needed to make the guardianship official. You can plan ahead for guardianship, either for yourself or your child, by creating a solid estate plan. Guardianship is a process that gives someone, the guardian, the legal right to make personal, financial, and perhaps medical decisions on behalf of another person, the conservatee. When a person turns 18, New York State assumes that they are legally competent to make their own decisions.
Guardianship refers to a legal process designed to protect individuals who are unable to care for themselves, whether they are minors, incapacitated, or disabled. The Article 17-A guardianship is intended to be quite broad and cover most of the decisions a parent would normally make for a minor child, including options regarding finances and medical treatment. The mission of the Guardianship Certification Center is to provide comprehensive certification programs for guardians and other trustees. Guardianship proceedings can also occur in different courts: high court, probate court, substitute court, family court, etc.
Probate guardianship or testamentary guardianship is a term used to refer specifically to the guardianship of a minor that occurs when his or her parents die. The exact petition forms you need may differ depending on whether the conservatee agrees to the guardianship (or if the conservatee's parents agree, if the conservatee is a minor). An ad litem guardian is especially common in situations where the welfare of the child is at stake, such as during some divorce proceedings or in the case of possible abuse or neglect. Guardianship should include the least restrictive means necessary, and a limited level of guardianship is preferred, rather than full (plenary) guardianship.
If the child's parents live, they are still legally required to provide financial support after a guardian is appointed. If you have minor children, you can nominate a guardian for them in your will to prevent the courts from naming someone you may not know or like. You may be allowed or required to have friends and family testify about your capacity as a guardian. A person under guardianship may not be able to get married, obtain a driver's license, or possess a firearm.
Guardians can be assigned to minor children, people with disabilities, and elderly or disabled adults. Prerequisites for National Master Guardian certification include CGC National Certified Guardian status, extensive experience in professional guardianship, submission of a completed application and passing a qualification exam.