Addiction, mental illness, disability, and incarceration can all affect a parent’s ability to care for his children. Sometimes, the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will step in to remove the child from the home and place him in foster care. But, in other cases, the child is placed with a close relative instead of foster parents. In situations like this, a kinship legal guardianship can be established.
Kinship Legal Guardianship Eligibility Requirements
There are certain requirements that must be met in order to become a kinship legal guardian. First, it must be proven that the person who is attempting to become a legal guardian is either a relative or family friend. Next, the petitioner must show that the child’s parents are incapacitated or incapable of taking care of the child. The court must also see proof that the relative or family friend has been living with the child for at least one year. The court will also need to be convinced that it is in the best interests of the child to live with the petitioner and that the petitioner is able to financially provide for the child.
The Rights Of A Kinship Legal Guardian
Kinship legal guardians are given a number of legal rights. A kinship legal guardian has the right to make important decisions, including those regarding the child’s education and healthcare. The person who is appointed the kinship legal guardian is also responsible for the child’s general safety and wellbeing. Basically, the kinship legal guardian is given many of the same rights that are given to birth or adoptive parents.
The birth or adoptive parents are not completely removed from the child’s life simply because a kinship legal guardianship has been established. The birth or adoptive parents no longer have custody of the child once a guardianship has been established, but they still have many parental rights. For example, birth or adoptive parents still have visitation rights even after a kinship legal guardianship has been established. Birth or adoptive parents are also still legally obligated to financially support their children by paying child support to the guardian.
Becoming a kinship legal guardian is not easy, and the transition is difficult for both guardians and children. But, the child and guardian can both benefit greatly from their new relationship and living arrangements.
Are you interested in becoming a kinship legal guardian? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Let our team of experienced attorneys guide you through the process of establishing a kinship legal guardianship. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.