Guardianship is a person who garners the legal authority, as well as the binding responsibilities, to oversee the property and personal rights of an individual known as a ward. A ward will be a person who is a minor, an aging elderly person, or some form of a disabled individual who is incapable of providing for their own interests. Children often need a legal guardian appointed when their parents exhibit the inability to effectively care and protect a child from harm.
One form of temporary legal guardianship is the role of the guardian ad litem. In the event of court cases or divorce proceedings, an individual is appointed by the courts to serve as a guardian ad litem. The job description of these individuals may vary, but usually they are some form of social worker or attorney. The specific purpose of a guardian ad litem in any given criminal or civil litigation proceeding is to oversee, protect, and voice the best interests of a child.
The duties of a guardian ad litem include:
- Inform the child, in understandable terms, the issues involved in all court proceedings, the rights of the child, and the presence of the guardian ad litem
- Appear at all trial dates in order to fully and vigorously present the best suited interests of the child.
- File all pertinent court papers and request on behalf of the child
- Advise the child, in understandable form, of the court's decision and the affects this decision will place upon the child’s life
During court proceedings or in any case where custody is being disputed, a guardian ad litem is in place to serve as a temporary guardian serving the best interests of the child for the duration of the legal events. Other forms of temporary guardians are individuals deemed by the court as acceptable and competent in providing for the care and decision making issues, which may face the person under their care. Generally, the temporary guardian accepts what is seen as a probationary status as a temporary legal guardian before accepting complete legal guardianship of a ward.
Do you need information regarding temporary legal guardianship? If so, contact one of our child custody attorneys in your area today!