“Children” and Guardianship

Guardianships are not just for the elderly. A Guardianship can be used for minor children (under the age of 18) in certain instances. Consider the stories below.

A child leaves his parents’ Texas home to attend college in Florida.  When he is 19 and still attending school in Florida, he is in a serious car accident, requiring a Care Flight to the nearest trauma center.  His parents are notified by a school friend and immediately leave Texas for Florida.  Upon arriving at the hospital in Florida, the doctors will tell the parents nothing about the status of their child’s condition or injuries.  After several days in recovery, the hospital will not release the child upon the parents’ request to relocate him to a rehabilitation facility in Texas.  The child’s landlord will not allow the parents to break the child’s lease.  The parents have no choice but to institute a Guardianship proceeding. 

A child has Special Needs and just turned 18.  Even though the child is not able to make any of their own medical or financial decisions, they are an adult.  What does this mean?  Your child can now go buy a car, sign a contract, marry, and the list goes on…  It will become necessary for you to begin the Guardianship process to make sure you continue to protect your child and act in his or her best interest.

Grandma passed away and had a life insurance policy.  She designated Sofie, her granddaughter, as beneficiary.  Sofie is your daughter and is 10-years-old.  Although you are her mother, you cannot access these proceeds without going to Court for Guardianship proceedings because Sofie is under the age of 18.

Your sister and her husband were killed in a car accident.  They left two children, ages 8 and 10.  You were designated as the Guardian in their Wills.  You must go to Court and begin the Guardianship proceedings so that you become their legal guardian to make the decisions on their behalf regarding medical, schooling, etc.

It is also possible to have a Guardianship contest with minor children.  One example of this would be in any of the scenarios above, if you feel the person making the application for Guardianship is not suitable to serve, you will need to begin proceedings to contest the appointment of that person.

It is important to note, with any of the scenarios listed above, you should consult with a qualified attorney to determine if the Probate Court for a Guardianship or the Family Court needs to be involved.  If you feel the Family Court needs to get involved with custody issues or removal of a minor, please contact a qualified family law attorney