It’s difficult to picture someone else parenting your child, but if something happened to you or your spouse, you’d want to know your child was in the best possible care. That’s why you must select the appropriate legal guardian for your child(ren) — which is the person who will raise the child if both parents die, become incapacitated due to sickness, or decide they are unsuitable to care for the child.
This may appear to be something you can put off and not worry about, but neglecting to choose a guardian means the courts will do it for you (if the worst does happen) — and the problem with that is that the individual the court selects may not be the person you think is best for your child.
While no one can tell you what is most important when appointing a guardian, there is plenty to mull over when you and your spouse consider potential candidates. Yes, you’ll want someone who loves and cares for your child as much as you do, but you’ll also want someone who is responsible, shares your beliefs, and is financially stable enough to shoulder the responsibility. You should also make backup plans in case your initial option is unwilling or unable to take on the task since not everyone will be eager to care for your children.
Legal guardianship is one of the options available to parents out there who wish to prepare for their children’s care in their absence. This absence could be due to various circumstances, such as illness, incarceration, or death. It enables parents to appoint a caregiver and grant that individual specific legal powers over their children’s care.
It’s crucial to highlight that the difference between guardianship and adoption is often misunderstood. When a child is adopted, the adoptive parents are given full legal parental rights, and birth parents cannot reclaim their child after the adoption is completed. The biological/legal parents, on the other hand, can terminate the guardianship at any moment and reclaim custody of their children in legal guardianship. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most important factors to consider when selecting a legal guardian.
Many parents believe that their child’s upbringing is dependent on their religious and moral views. As a result, you should think about the principles and beliefs of the legal guardians you’re considering designating. For example, suppose you raised your child in a catholic household and maintained the catholic church’s beliefs and moral position. In that case, you may wish to seek another willing catholic family to raise your children with the same moral system.
Raising children is far from the cheapest thing you can do. With this in mind, you should try to find a guardian that will provide for your child financially. This usually means having a stable job that allows them to look after the child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and education.
A lot of people select their parents to be their guardians. After all, they were the ones who raised you and did a fairly decent job of it. For the time being, your parents may be a good choice, but consider how old your parents will be when your child is in high school. They may be struggling with their own health issues by then and not ready for adolescence’s hardships and tribulations.
You want to find someone who is good with children and has the requisite skills to raise them properly. People who have experience with children or already have children of their own are the obvious choices here.
Are the guardians you’re considering fit and healthy? Do they have enough time to dedicate to caring for and raising your child? You must assess the physical ability of a guardian, so you can ensure that your child will get the attention and love that they need.
Following on from the last point, you must consider the emotional availability of the guardians you are considering. What is the current state of their relationships? Are they struggling with their own issues such as depression, anxiety, or other relationship issues? This is not an exercise for judging others, yet it is crucial in determining whether or not a guardian will be a good fit or not.
Simply put, the individual needs to be willing to take on the role of a guardian. Shouldering the responsibility of raising a child that is not your own is by no means a small thing to ask someone. In many cases, it is a lifelong responsibility, so you must be sure that the person is willing and motivated for the job.
You need a contingency plan if your first choice guardian declines or something happens to them while caring for your child. This ensures that you will never have to rely on the court to find a suitable guardian for your children.
Finally, why not ask your child who they would like to live with, assuming they’re old enough? While this shouldn’t be the sole basis of your decision, at least it gives you an idea of the people your children feel comfortable with, which is one of the main things you are trying to achieve when selecting a guardian.
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