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There are many reasons why a person might seek to give a grandmother guardianship of a child. Considering that so many Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, it is often a struggle to pay bills or put food on the table. As a result, a parent might try to do what is in the best interest of a child by seeking to place him or her within the care a grandmother on a temporary basis. Although temporary guardianship might seem like the best solution, there are a few things to know before you make that decision.
Understanding the Definition of Guardianship
Guardianship occurs when a child is placed with a person that is not a parent. As such, the guardian receives legal custody of the child. While the child is under the care of the guardian, that person can make any and all decision on the child’s behalf. In fact, that person is legally bound to do so, just as a parent is required to do for a child. Parents are sometimes hurt and surprised when a guardian suddenly refuses to let them see their child, which is also within the guardian’s legal means.
If you find yourself in a situation where a grandmother who is acting as guardian of your child will not allow you visitation, you might be wondering if you can lose custody. Keep in mind that you have temporarily handed custody of your child over to the grandmother. However, that does not mean that it has to be a permanent outcome.
Understanding Different Types of Guardianship Available
Keep in mind that guardianship, in some instances, may last until the child becomes an adult. A court may terminate the guardianship and pass the responsibility to someone else if necessary. The type of guardianship a grandmother holds over a child can help you figure out what you need to do in order to request custody be returned to you.
- Guardianship of the Child: If a grandmother receives guardianship of the child, or guardianship of the person, it means that she is responsible for the child’s well-being. The person acting as the child’s guardian has the right to make decision regarding the child’s personal and medical care. A guardian has every legal right to determine where the child attends school, where he or she will live, and decision regarding healthcare.
- Guardianship of Estate: A person who has guardianship of an estate is able to make important financial decisions for a child. If the child has any assets, the guardian will need permission from the court to sell or use any of those assets despite having guardianship.
- Guardianship of Estate and Child: If a person has guardianship of a child and the estate, it means that person has the right to make decisions regarding the child’s medical and personal well-being, as well as the child’s finances.
Familiarizing yourself with the different types of guardianship can help you avoid any rash decision made in error. Also, you should keep in mind that there are alternatives to guardianship you can seek to retain custody of your child.
Alternative Guardianship Options to Consider
You may find alternative options more suited to your situation, particularly if you wish to retain custody of your child. Alternative options include:
- Temporary Guardianship: If you are currently having financial issues and unable to care for your child, you may consider temporary guardianship instead. Temporary guardianship means that you voluntarily provide a person guardianship of your child for a period of six months. You do not need court involvement for this agreement, and once the six-month period passes, the guardianship will expire, allowing you to retain custody.
- Power of Attorney: When you grant someone power of attorney, you are allowing them to make important decisions on your behalf. For instance, if you grant a grandmother power of attorney of your child, you will retain custody, but the grandmother will have the right to make important decisions regarding your child.
Fortunately, you can terminate the appointed power of attorney at any time you seek.
In the Event of Guardianship
If you have already provided a grandmother with guardianship rights over your child and you have difficulty acquiring custody back, you need to speak with a qualified lawyer. An attorney can assist you in maintaining your custodial rights. Keep in mind that courts typically do not terminate custodial rights unless a parent proves him or herself unfit for the child’s well-being.
If you have not yet provided guardianship of your child to someone, you should still speak with an attorney. A legal professional can walk you through your options to ensure that you do not lose custody of your child