Children need to live with someone who is loving and capable of taking care of them. Unfortunately, some youths are orphaned or subjected to unsuitable home environments. In these cases, legal guardianship allows a qualified, caring adult to assume legal responsibility for their well-being. At Carolina Law Group in Morehead City, headed by Tommy Kellis, we are knowledgeable North Carolina attorneys who help caring family members and others take the steps necessary to become guardians.
When a court gives an adult legal guardianship of a minor, it means the guardian can make decisions on the child’s behalf as a mother or father would do. A family member or someone else close to the child might seek guardianship if the minor’s parents are not able to fulfill their responsibilities. There are two types of legal guardianship. A guardian of the person is responsible for handling decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, medical treatment and general care. There can also be a guardian of the estate, who handles financial matters relating to the child. You can petition for a general guardianship, which combines both of these roles.
Various circumstances may compel courts to appoint guardians for minors. Naming a guardian is necessary when both a child’s parents have died. In these cases, the parents often have left instructions regarding guardianship. Courts usually will honor the parents’ wishes in these situations but are not required to do so. Seeking to establish a guardianship when one or both parents of a child are living can be more complicated. Many situations can lead to creation of guardianships, such as:
Regardless of your particular reasons for considering guardianship, our accomplished North Carolina family law attorneys can review the facts and give you an honest, informed assessment about your chances of being named as a guardian.
Under North Carolina law, custody only describes the authority that a parent has over their child. No matter the situation, custody is not given to a non-parent. Even if legal guardianship is given to someone else, mothers and fathers retain parental status and might be granted visitation rights. Guardianship can be awarded on a temporary basis, with parents maintaining the ability to regain legal authority if the circumstances prompting the guardianship change.
You can start the process of gaining legal guardianship by applying with the clerk of the Superior Court in the county where the child lives. Information about the child’s parents and any assets they might own must be included with the filing, along with a statement of why the guardianship is necessary. In a hearing, the judge will hear evidence regarding the need for a guardianship, your fitness for the role and any objection that the child’s parents might have. A guardian ad litem is usually appointed to represent the child’s interests in these proceedings.
The Carolina Law Group in Morehead City provides knowledgeable guidance on North Carolina guardianship and other family law concerns. We serve clients in Morehead City, Lenoxville and other locations throughout the area. Please call 252-636-3737 or contact us online to make an appointment.