Is legal guardianship permanent?

Florida Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) Benefits Permanent guardianship allows a child to live with people they already know and trust. Guardianship occurs when a conservatee needs short- or long-term care. Permanent legal guardianship allows a designated person to take care of the personal care and finances of another adult or a child. Guardianship of a child places you in charge of their daily care, but the parents or adopted caregiver maintain parental authority.

When a biological parent cannot have physical custody of a child, a court order can grant permanent guardianship to another person. A guardian is legally empowered as a substitute for decision-making and is required to provide a safe living environment, education, health care and other daily needs. A designated guardian can be a family member or another adult approved by the court. A judge orders a permanent guardian if it is determined that reunification with biological parents or adoption is not possible or if it is in the best interests of the child.

When a child is placed under guardianship, parents retain most of their parental rights and can request an end to the guardianship if they can once again care for their child. If you have been appointed the guardian of a minor's estate, a guardianship lawyer can help you meet your obligations. Adult guardianship is the process by which the court finds that a person's ability to make decisions is so limited that the court grants the right to make decisions to another person. Unlike adoption, permanent guardianship limits but does not terminate the parental rights of biological parents.

In guardianships, parents retain most of their rights, including the right to maintain reasonable contact with their children, as long as the court has not imposed any limits on them. That said, guardianships give guardians “physical custody of the ward,” which simply means that the ward will reside under your roof and be in your care. Guardianship proceedings can become contentious when there are concurrent guardianship requests or if parents object to the petition. Guardianship is only guaranteed when the court finds that a no less restrictive alternative, such as a durable power of attorney, trust, substitute or health care proxy, or other form of pre-need directive, is appropriate and available.

If you have questions about your guardianship responsibilities, it's important to talk to a guardianship lawyer. Temporary legal guardianship in California is very different from, for example, leaving a child with grandparents for a couple of weeks. Requesting the right type of guardianship is essential not only to ensure that the guardianship achieves its purpose, but also to convincing the court to approve the guardianship.