A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a person, known as a guardian, to make decisions and take care of another person, known as a ward, who cannot care for themselves. Guardianships are typically established for individuals who cannot make decisions for themselves due to factors such as age, disability, or incapacity. There are two types of guardianships; Guardianship of the person and Guardianship of the estate A guardianship of the estate is a person who is responsible for the day-to-day care and well-being of the ward, while a guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the ward’s financial affairs.
Guardianships are important in several ways:
- They protect individuals who are unable to make decisions or care for
- They ensure that the ward’s physical and financial needs are met by appointing someone to
manage their care and finances.
- They can help with financial exploitation or abuse of the ward by having someone with legal
authority to manage their financial affairs.
- They help with decision-making for the ward as the appointed guardian acts as a substitute
decision maker for the ward.
- They can help with the continuity of care as the ward can continue to love in familiar
surroundings or with familiar people.
- Guardianships are typically established through the probate court and can be costly, so it is
important to consider if there are alternative options such as powers of attorney, trusts, or living
wills before seeking guardianship.
When a court is determining child custody in a divorce matter, the primary consideration the best interest of the children. The court will consider a variety of factors when making a determination, including,
- The child’s relationship with each parent; this includes the child’s emotional, physical and
physiological relationship with each parent.
- The child’s preference is the child if old enough and has the ability to express a preference, the
court will take that into consideration.
- The parent’s ability to provide for the child’s emotional and physical needs, such as parent’s
income, employment and living situations.
- The parent’s ability to co-parent which includes the ability to work together to make decisions
and communicate effectively.
- The child’s stability and continuity; the court will consider the child’s current living situation and
the continuity of that situation in regard to education, relationships and community.
- The child’s safety; the court will consider if there is any history of abuse or neglect by either
- The parent’s moral fitness; the court will consider any history of criminal activity, drug or alcohol
abuse or any other behavior which may put the child at risk.
- The parents; work schedule and availability to care for the child.
It is important to note that these are not the only factors the court will consider, and the weight given to each factor will vary depending on the specific case. Additionally, the court may also consider any other relevant information that may be presented to them.