When it comes to child custody, the right course of action can sometimes be a difficult one and, in many cases, involves the need to find new guardians for minor children, away from their biological families. Guardianship is a big decision, and not one to be taken lightly, and so it is important that you have all the advice and information that you need to make a confident and informed decision that offers the best solution for all parties involved. With our quality Caldwell guardianship attorney on your side, you will be well placed with the information that you need.
According to legislation, guardianship in Idaho is defined as being “... the powers and responsibilities of a parent who has not been deprived of custody of his minor and unemancipated child." Essentially, guardianship allows a named individual - the guardian - to take charge of the physical and emotional wellbeing of another individual - the “protected person”, who is either a minor child, or who has been deemed incapacitated, and unable to take control of their own life.
Guardians are appointed by the court, and this is a process that should not be taken lightly - as a guardian, you will essentially be acting with the same level of responsibility and expectation that would be assigned to a biological parent.
Guardianship has a number of benefits, and these include:
Guardianship helps to protect those who are deemed vulnerable and prevents them from engaging in potentially dangerous behavior, such as refusing to remain in a safe environment, refusing to take essential medication, being reckless with spending, or becoming aggressive or reclusive.
Guardianship also allows minor children who are living in dangerous situations to be removed from these environments, and prevent these traumatic events from occurring.
The guardianship process is based on total honesty and transparency, and this can be vital in creating a neutral forum, especially when disputes are between families. The amount of money that is put aside for and spent on the protected person must be transparent and open to the court, and this also applies to the intended plan of care.
In situations where disputes and arguments have arisen between the guardian and another family member, the judge is on hand to settle these disputes, offering everyone a chance to speak, and ensuring that any decisions are in the best interests of the child in question.
In some situations, disagreements may be ongoing about the best way to care for a vulnerable person or minor child, and this can result in this individual being put to one side, with their needs and preferences ignored. Implementing a guardianship order ensures that this person is made the top priority - even if those around them are unable to agree on a harmonious course of action.
In addition to guardianship, a conservatorship may also be implemented - this acts in a similar way to guardianship, but the focus is on the financial assets of the protected person. A conservatorship can prevent financial exploitation, especially if the protected person is vulnerable.
It is important to also be aware that guardianship comes with some downsides - being aware of these will ensure that you are able to make a confident and informed decision when the time comes.
Perhaps the largest obstacle is that court-supervised guardianship tends to be very expensive, as there are a number of steps that must be taken. Costs include court filing fees, the attorney fees of the alleged protected person, fees for any committee members, and the attorney fees of the individual who is petitioning to become a guardian. In some cases, a total breakdown of communication between family members may occur, and this means that a professional guardian will need to be appointed - this can prove to be very expensive.
Overall, you should expect fees to start at around $500 for an uncontested guardianship, and these can reach up to $2000, especially if the estate is large. Where guardianships are contested by family members or other individuals, fees can reach anything from $20,000 to $50,000.
As we have mentioned, guardianships are required to be totally transparent, and this can result in an intrusive experience for the guardian. Each penny spent is heavily scrutinized and recorded, along with any major decisions or future plans that may be in the pipeline. This high level of reporting is important for ensuring the safety of the protected person but can be difficult for the guardian.
In some cases, the guardianship process can be very distressing for a primary caregiver who is forced to hand over the role. While guardianship is in the best interests of the incapacitated person, the pushback from a former primary caregiver can be significant.
In most cases, the majority of individuals will be entitled to apply to become guardians; the only real restrictions are that a proposed guardian may not be the biological or adoptive parent of the child in question, and must not have any child protection order or child abuse convictions against them. They must also display a genuine interest in the child's welfare and wellbeing, and an ability to care for the child or children adequately.
Situations involving the custody and care of children and vulnerable adults can be filled with emotion, stress, and often very difficult to navigate alone. In order to ensure that you and your loved one receive the best possible care and outcome, it is crucial that you have access to quality legal advice - and our team is right here to help. Get in touch today, and let us help you make the best decisions for your family.