Assigning a caretaker under the law is a vital concern for any parent or guardian. Your ward or child is among the most important people in your life; a legal guardianship is your only way to ensure that he or she is protected should anything happen to you. In addition, currently appointed legal guardians must often wade through a lot of confusing legislation to help ensure the well-being of the minor they care for, and possibly fight off challenges to that protection from other less-fit providers.
Without the advice of a guardianship lawyer, navigating this field of law is a decided challenge. While you should always retain the services of a guardianship lawyer if possible, understanding the basic facts of legal caretaking will only help you.
Please note that this article is not intended to provide specific advice, but rather general statements. If you require legal advice, you should contact a qualified guardianship lawyer immediately.
For Current Parents
If you are currently the parent of a minor child, the most common interaction with a guardianship lawyer would be in the context of setting up your will. Estate planning lawyers can help with questions and will be able to explain in detail how best to write your testament so that your child is protected. Your most important task is to denote a clear responsibility under the law for your child in the event of your death. You should always make the wording as clear and direct as possible and be certain to discuss it with the designated parties ahead of time. You want to avoid surprise should the worst come to pass, and hopefully avoid any need to hire litigation attorneys in the future.
For Current Guardians
As a present guardian to a minor child, you have no doubt encountered some of the complexities that make this branch of law so full of litigation attorneys. There are several ways in which you can be given a ward. First, you might be designated a caretaker by the state. You might also voluntarily assume the responsibility if a biological parent is declared unfit. You could also accept the responsibility if friends or family request that you do so on the advice of their estate planning lawyers as part of a will. No matter how your ward was designated to you, you do retain legal responsibility for him or her until he or she reaches the age of legal maturity, or until the court decides to reassign the ward. The second situation more commonly requires litigation attorneys to resolve and can be quite a battle. If you do currently have a ward in the second situation, you are highly advised to seek the assistance of a skilled legal professional, estate planning lawyers, or a guardianship lawyer as needed.
If You Wish To Challenge Guardianship
There are many situations where, for a variety of reasons, a child may have been taken from his or her parents and assigned a foster caretaker who then becomes a legal protector. If your child was taken from you, it will take more than estate planning lawyers to get him or her back. You should seek out litigation attorneys immediately to begin pressing your case in court.
Understanding the precedent and complicated codes associated with protection under the law is a very difficult task best left to an attorney. If you are in any of the situations described here, you should seek legal assistance as quickly as possible. Don't try to represent yourself; let a strong attorney guide you through this difficult process.
Kerry R. Peck is the managing partner of Peck Bloom, LLC, a law firm that includes Chicago probate attorneys and litigation lawyers. Kerry specializes in elder law and is a guardianship lawyer Chicago natives rely on for guidance and legal representation.