Guardianship and Guardian Ad Litem in Georgia

Legal guardianship is sometimes confused with conservatorship. A guardian is a non-parent appointed by the court to have general responsibility for a child (a ward) or a physically or mentally incapacitated adult. A conservator is also appointed by the court, but for a more limited role — responsibility for the property of the child or incapacitated adult.

Obtaining a guardianship appointment is a straightforward process, which the courts favor, especially in cases where the child’s parents are going through some major struggle (finances, mental health, addiction, criminal conviction, questions of the child’s safety, etc.). To create a guardianship, you will want to work with a lawyer committed to building strong families in our community. Our attorneys are skilled in presenting the kind of evidence judges need to approve guardianships. Criteria judges look for to grant an appointment include:

  • A bond of love, affection and emotional ties exist between the child and guardian parties.
  • The parties are in a position to provide a healthy, safe home.
  • They can in addition provide the child with food, clothing and medical care.
  • The parties are sound in mental and physical health.
  • The current home may be an unsafe place for the child.

Guardianship cases often arise in troubling or upsetting situations and require emotional support. Let our experienced legal professionals handle your case with the care and attention you and the child or handicapped adult deserve. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation.

What are the 2 Types of Guardianships?

There are two main kinds of guardianship. The first, which is known as testamentary guardianship, is an important part of wills. In a will, a parent can determine who a child, adult child with a disability or other minor in his or her care will be left in the care of in the case the parents are killed or lack the ability to care for those who are unable to care for themselves.

Usually, this guardianship request will be upheld by the court, but it won’t be in some cases. For instance, if the proposed guardian is unfit to parent a child, then the court will choose a new guardian. The same is true if the guardian is unwilling or unable to care for the ward. If you’re in a position where you want to appoint someone as a guardian in your will or want to take guardianship over children or adults with disabilities left to your care, your attorney can help collect the correct documents to do so.

The other form of guardianship is know as temporary guardianship. The difference between testamentary and temporary guardianship is that the child or adult with a disability is actually in the care of the guardian for a temporary length of time. The guardianship is normally used only for a short time before it’s terminated. For instance, a foster family may have guardianship over a child until a parent is able to take custody once again. At that point, the temporary guardianship would be disbanded. This kind of guardianship is also known as a limited guardianship but can also be invoked in emergency situations.

Guardian Ad Litem Representation

When a child needs to go to court for some reason, it’s possible to have a court-appointed representative take the place of the child during the proceedings. This person is known as a guardian ad litem.

The purpose of a guardian ad litem is to make sure the child has fair representation in court due to being unable to represent him or herself successfully. For example, if a child is only 4 or 5 years old, it’s unlikely that child can represent him or herself in a successful manner. The same can be true if a person of any age has severe mental health conditions or is incapacitated in some way; having someone represent him or her is the only fair way to go to court and to go through the motions.

Usually, a guardian ad litem is a close relative of a child or adult. For instance, if a child has an older sibling, that sibling may represent him or herself and his sibling in court, looking out for both of their best interests. An aunt, uncle, grandparent or parent may be a guardian ad litem, but the person best for the job may vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

If your child or a child you know has to go to court during a divorce or family law case, it’s important that he or she has the right representation when necessary. Our experienced attorneys will explain the guardian ad litem process to you, and with our representation, you can be sure that the child or adult in your care is represented fairly and has the support he or she needs in court. Call 770-887-1209 now to best protect the child or handicapped adult in your care