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Montgomery County, PA Guardianship Attorney

What Is Legal Guardianship?

A legal guardianship refers to a court order that transfers the responsibility of a child from their biological parents to a specifically designated person. Assuming guardianship allows the appointed person to make important decisions on the child’s behalf as the parents typically would.

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How Is Guardianship Established in Pennsylvania?

The appointment of a guardian is a legal process that calls for an application, a court hearing, and oftentimes, a home inspection of the proposed living environment. The court order will determine if a guardianship is permanent or temporary, depending on the request of the parents and circumstances surrounding the need for guardianship. A guardian may be recommended by the parents or chosen by the court, but they must be able and willing to commit to all the responsibilities that comes with a guardianship.

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What Are Reasons to Appoint a Guardian?

The purpose of a legal guardianship is to place a child in an environment where they can thrive from the protection, support, and stability they deserve. Generally, in order to have a guardian appointed in Pennsylvania the parents of a child must no longer be able to care for them in a manner that maintains their best interests. There are several situations that may cause this to be the case, including:

  • Parent(s) are deceased
  • Parent(s) are missing
  • Parent(s) have drug, alcohol, or mental problems
  • Parent(s) are incarcerated
  • Parent(s) have a debilitating illness
  • Parent(s) are abusive
  • Parent(s) are neglectful or unable to provide financial support

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Duties of a Legal Guardian

Legal guardians will be expected to take on the role of parent, which means handling everything that pertains to the wellbeing and safety of the child they’ve been given charge over. Duties will involve:

  • Providing the child with shelter, food, clothing, and all other basic necessities
  • Ensuring the child receives adequate medical care
  • Making certain the child acquires a proper education
  • Maintaining the child’s mental health

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Guardianship of Disabled Adults

In Pennsylvania, once children reach the age of 18 they have the legal right to make their own decisions even if they have a mental, physical, or emotional impairment. However, a parent or other relative may petition for legal guardianship if there is evidence an adult does not have the mental capability to exercise good judgment in regards to their welfare. If the court decides there is enough evidence that an individual warrants the need for a guardian, they will grant the request.

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Legal Guardian vs. Power of Attorney

There is a significant difference between being someone’s legal guardian and their power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document signed by a person deemed to be competent enough to choose another person to make decisions about their personal and financial affairs on their behalf. A guardian is appointed by the court for an incapacitated individual who does not have a power of attorney.

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Contact a Montgomery County Child Custody Lawyer That Understands the Importance of Family

The court does not take appeals for guardianship lightly. If you are seeking legal guardianship in Montgomery County or looking to appoint a guardian for your child, you will need an attorney experienced in this particular type of matter to help with the process. The Montgomery County child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. are familiar with all the forms that are required to apply to become a guardian, the filing procedures, and Pennsylvania’s court system. We understand how to put together a case that proves that it would be in the best interests of the child to be in the care of the suggested guardian. Contact us at (610) 645-0100 to schedule a consultation.

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Additional Information

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