How to Become a Legal Guardian for a Child You Love

When you act as the primary caretaker for a child, you want to ensure that his or her needs are being met — and that can be difficult when you don’t have parental rights.

If you are currently caring for a child for whom you do not have parental rights, obtaining a temporary legal guardianship can benefit you, the child, and his or her biological parents. Here, learn more about legal guardianship in Georgia and North Carolina.

What is guardianship?

Guardianships are usually temporary arrangements that establish a legal custodian for a child or incapacitated adult. These arrangements allow struggling parents to place their child in the care of a close friend or family member. In other cases, a friend or relative might obtain a guardianship for an adult who, due to factors like age, illness or disability, needs help managing their personal and financial affairs.

If you are caring for a child whose parents are not present or able to fulfill their parental responsibilities, legal guardianship can benefit you in a number of ways:

  • It provides you with legal rights. During the guardianship, you will have the same parental rights and responsibilities that a biological parent has for their child. You can easily perform everyday parenting tasks, including getting healthcare for the child and enrolling him or her in school and extracurricular activities.
  • It provides parents with a temporary solution. Many parents consider guardianship when current circumstances make it difficult for them to parent. Guardianship is a voluntary, temporary solution that keeps their parental rights intact while they make changes and improve their situation.
  • It provides the child with a sense of stability. Most importantly, guardianship places children in the care of loving and familiar friends and relatives. Rather than being placed in the foster system or staying in a potentially unsuitable home environment, these children can maintain a sense of safety and security while their parents regain stability in their lives.

How can I become a legal guardian?

Claiborne|Fox|Bradley helps family members and foster parents obtain legal guardianships over minor-age children, as well as incapacitated adults. If you are seeking legal custody of a child you care about, we can provide all of the services you need to complete the guardianship process, including:

  • advising you of your rights and responsibilities as a legal guardian.
  • gathering necessary birth and medical papers.
  • completing forms required to establish a permissible cause for obtaining temporary or permanent legal guardianship.
  • extending or terminating the legal guardianship.
  • and more.

Because guardianships are typically temporary, North Carolina and Georgia guardianships may be terminated by the biological parents when they feel they are ready to resume their parental responsibilities. However, if you are serving as a child’s legal guardian and feel that termination of the guardianship is not in the child’s best interests, Claiborne|Fox|Bradley can also represent you in contesting the termination.

We invite you to contact us to discuss your specific legal concerns. We can schedule a consultation to meet with one of our attorneys about you need for a guardianship in Georgia or North Carolina.

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