How to Establish a Legal Guardian for Your Child

A guardian is a non-parent who is given the legal responsibility of caring for a minor child. Many parents include the name of the person they trust to take over as legal guardian of their child(ren) in their estate plan. To establish a legal guardian for your child, you must first consider the items outlined below.

Choosing the Right Guardian

When deciding who to appoint as your child’s legal guardian, you should always choose someone you can trust. This person should be someone stable, reliable, and able to reasonably care for your child. You can also choose multiple people to co-guardian your child, but this approach could create potential problems, especially if the parties disagree. You should also consider:

  • the age of potential guardians;
  • the physical capabilities of potential guardians;
  • the time potential guardians can expend on caring for the child; and/or
  • the financial stability of potential guardians.

Do I Need an Explanation for the Guardian(s) I Choose?

In California, the court applies the ‘best interest of the child’ standard to all cases concerning minor children. For this reason, and while not legally required, it is always a good idea to write a letter explaining to a judge, legal representative, and/or the guardians themselves why you believe they are the best fit to raise your child in your absence.

Consider How the Responsibility of Legal Guardianship Can Affect People

You should never surprise a person with the knowledge of potential legal guardianship of your child. The main reason being that the person you name may not be comfortable taking on the responsibility of caring for a child. The level of burden this could have on a potential guardian depends on their lifestyle.

When deciding who you would like to raise your child in your place, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Would they like the responsibility of raising a child?
  2. Would they accept liability for the child’s actions?
  3. Are they capable of acting as the legal parent of your child for the duration of the guardianship?
  4. Could the guardianship affect their own family, health, finances, and overall standard of living?

Dependable Guardianship Attorneys

After deciding upon the legal guardian of your child, you need to ensure this decision is legally official. Our lawyers can help you create, file, and officiate the appropriate guardianship documents.

Let us help you ensure your child is always properly cared for by calling our firm at (760) 573-2223 or contacting us online.