Guardianship of Minors

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Guardianship of Minors

 

Children have a moral right to be born and raised by their biological parents, however, that is not always possible. In some cases, the birth parents may be unwilling or unable to play their parenting role. A guardian steps up for the minor in such a case. Generally, guardians are family members or friends of the child that already have an established relationship. In some circumstances, the guardian may have already been acting as a caregiver for the minor informally. The guardian is required to seek legal recognition necessary to make medical and educational decisions in the minor’s best interest.

When A Guardianship Is Necessary

A guardian is generally named if the Probate and Family Court finds that the parent cannot care for that child on a long-term basis or when biological parents provide consent. Most of the time, guardianship is appointed if:

  • The parent has died.
  • The parent is ill or otherwise incapacitated.
  • The parent has a long-term condition that could make it impossible to care for their child day-to-day.
  • The parent is suffering from drug abuse, or
  • The parent has left the child in the care of somebody else, and they’ve not returned, and their whereabouts are unknown.

In those situations, it could be appropriate for another adult to seek guardianship of that child to have legal decision-making authority on the child’s behalf.

Guardian Requirements

Before starting the guardianship process, it is best to find out if you qualify to be a guardian for a minor. Any guardian for any child must meet the following requirements. The guardian must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Be a resident of the United States
  • Be of sound mind
  • Not be legally disabled
  • TNot have a felony conviction that involves harm or threat to a child.

Even when you have met the above criteria, there can still be challenges in obtaining guardianship. You will need the assistance and guidance of a lawyer that has specialized in guardianship cases—and that is where Sawin Law, P.C. comes into play. Our guardianship lawyers know how to get through the hoops and hurdles in this type of case. They will work with you to ensure the best interests of the children involved are protected at all costs.

Call us at (781) 713-1212 or contact us online to discuss your case with our team.

Guardianship with Parents’ Consent

When filing for guardianship with the parents’ consent, this step can be a formality. The guardian is only required to draft and sign motions for the court to look over and approve. In other cases, one of the parents may disagree with appointing a guardian for their minor. The parent may attempt to fight for guardianship forcing the potential guardian to face them in court. In this scenario, the guardian is disadvantaged mainly because the parent has the right to a court-appointed lawyer while the guardian doesn’t. Therefore, the guardian will have to cover the costs of their lawyer.

How to Prove a Parent Is Unfit In Guardianship Cases

The Massachusetts courts are always in favor of minors being in the custody, care, and control of their biological parents. As such, terminating a parent’s parental responsibilities isn’t taken lightly. A potential guardian is required to avail proof of parental unfitness. Proving that a parent is unfit to raise their child is a daunting task. But there are a few different angles that you can take with the help of a guardianship attorney to try and convince the judge that the parent is not in a position to have custody of the minor.

Substance Abuse Issue

Suppose the parent has a significant substance abuse issue that has continued for a good number of years. In that case, the guardian can show that the parent continues to relapse and cannot be stable for a significant period of time. In these cases where the parent is struggling with a substance abuse issue, the judge may ask the parent to go through a drug screening and treatment program before being trusted to have custody of the minor.

Neglectful Parent

Another way to go about proving parental fitness is if a parent is neglectful towards the minors. For instance, they may not be feeding them at the right time, not ensuring that they get to school on time, not ensuring they do homework and other neglectful acts. If the guardian can show that the parent has a pattern of neglecting the minors, that can be convincing evidence.

Abuse Problems

Abuse reports or criminal convictions that have happened either in the past or current and would show that the parent has been abusing the minor or has an abusive personality can also attack the parent’s fitness.
It is important to note that even if a guardian can present proof of the parent’s unfitness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the parent will be declared unfit right away. The judge will consider many factors before deciding whether appointing guardianship is in the minor’s best interest.

Contact Our Fierce Guardianship Advocates Today

Most guardians are focused on providing the children with the support and guidance they need—the petition for guardianship in good faith and not out of the desire to keep the minor. Unfortunately, the legal system prioritizes the parent-child relationship, making the petition process difficult for the guardians. Getting a lawyer involved as soon as possible can ensure that the situation is handled quickly and efficiently.

If you require a guardianship attorney in Massachusetts, turn to Sawin Law, P.C. Our office is well-versed in guardianship cases. We have helped several individuals and families seeking guardianships, and we believe we can help you too. We will work hand in hand with you to understand your situation, goals, and those of your loved ones. With our competent legal advice and representation, we will be able to make a strong case.

Contact us at (781) 713-1212 to request a free 30- minute phone consultation.

We Will Go the Extra Mile to Protect Your Rights

A Compassionate, yet Fierce Advocate on Your Side

Free 30-Minute Initial Consultation

High-Quality Legal Service Focused on Client Results

Attorney Sawin is a Marine Corps Veteran who Cares about His Community

We Will Go the Extra Mile to Protect Your Rights

A Compassionate, yet Fierce Advocate on Your Side

Free 30-Minute Initial Consultation

High-Quality Legal Service Focused on Client Results

Attorney Sawin is a Marine Corps Veteran who Cares about His Community

Read What Our Clients Have to Say

Chris and his staff made it easy and effortless for me.

I was going through a pretty ugly custody battle. The process is hard enough to navigate but with the times being what they are in 2020 I couldn't imagine going through this without Chris's help. I ended up with custody of my son and pretty much everything we were asking for. Chris and his staff made it easy and effortless for me. From one Marine to another, Semper Fi brother and thank you for all you've done.

- Former Client

 

Chris is a rare find.

I have known Chris for quite some time and am consistently impressed by his character and professionalism. I see Chris every Tuesday for a networking group and each week he has another success story for helping someone get what they're owed. Chris helps run the networking group and if his punctuality, willingness to go the extra mile, and attention to detail he displays as NRBA's VP is any indication of his professional practice, Chris is a rare find.
- William F.
  • Why Hire Sawin Law, P.C.
  • We Will Go the Extra Mile to Protect Your Rights
  • High-Quality Legal Service Focused on Client Results
  • A Compassionate, yet Fierce Advocate on Your Side
  • Attorney Sawin is a Marine Corps Veteran who Cares about His Community
  • wFree 30-Minute Initial Consultation