In certain circumstances, a child’s parents may be unable or unwilling to provide attentive, high-quality care. When this occurs, setting up a guardianship may be the best solution. In the context of family law, a guardianship is a subset of child custody. It allows a trusted caretaker — often a grandparent, an older sibling, or another relative — to obtain basic legal decision-making authority for the child.
The Maryland guardianship attorneys at Frame & Frame have the skills and experience needed to protect your rights and to help you protect a vulnerable child. Our award-winning family law attorneys can help you find the best solution for you and your family. For your private consultation, please contact us today.
Understanding the Basics of Guardianship of a Minor
In many ways, a guardianship is similar to child custody. However, there are some very important differences. With a guardianship, an adult’s legal authority is essentially limited to making day-to-day decisions for the child. The adult will not have full or permanent custody rights. Instead, he or she will have the legal power and duty to act in the child’s best interests on a day-to-day basis.
One of the big advantages of establishing a guardianship is that it can generally be done without terminating anyone’s parental rights. Should a parent be temporarily unable to provide adequate care and oversight for the child, a grandparent or another adult could take control through a guardianship. This can be done with the intention of relinquishing guardianship rights in the future. Guardianships offer some inherent flexibility for families going through difficult times.
Guardianships and the Opioid Epidemic
Maryland, like many other states, has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. According to published data, Maryland is among the top five states with the highest rate of opioid overdoses. Sadly, drug addiction problems have impacted many families — including many parents of young children.
In certain situations, setting up a guardianship may be the answer for a family dealing with an opioid-addicted parent or a parent who is going through a tough time. Indeed, a guardianship may be the best option to ensure that a grandparent — or another trusted adult — can obtain the legal right needed to provide temporary or ongoing care of a child. In some cases, setting up a guardianship may be necessary to keep a child from being removed by Child Protective Services. Guardianships are often contested but that is not always the case. Parents may choose to consent to a guardianship until such time as they are rehabilitated, back on their feet, and able to properly care for their child. This is a time-sensitive matter. If your family is in this situation, please contact our Maryland family lawyers immediately.