Guardianship of a Minor Child
Guardianship of a minor child is a matter of judicial discretion. When determining where and with whom a child should reside, the judge will consider the best interest of the child. If a parent who dies leaves a statement identifying a guardian or nominating a standby guardian, it will be seen by the court as evidence of what is in the best interest of the child.
This statement typically presents in a will as well as in a stand alone document called a Designation of Standby Guardianship. It is typically set forth in both locations as the parent may not be deceased. Examples of when guardianship for the children of a living parent may ensue include the disability of the parent due to illness, incarceration, service in the military, etc. In these instances, guardianship may be temporary or may be permanent.
Guardianship criteria may include the age of the potential guardian, the location of the residence of the potential guardian, and the age of the child when guardianship begins. Parents of minor children are urged to consider what they determine is in the best interest of their minor children and execute this document without delay. In addition, guidance in the form of a mission statement for guardians to follow may also be important to have.
Learn more about drafting a mission statement
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