A guardianship arrangement gives you custody of a minor child, along with the responsibility for the care and education of the child when the child’s parents are both deceased, have relinquished their parental rights, or are otherwise unable to care for him or her. If you have taken a minor child into your care, you may be required to establish guardianship so that you will be able to make important decisions on behalf of the child and enroll them in school.
A typical example of guardianship involves grandparents and their grandchildren, but a guardian does not necessarily have to be a blood relative of the minor child. The court does require that a person who is seeking to become a guardian be over 18 years old, and have significant relationship with the child. Tennessee law also requires that the guardian is “emotionally, mentally, physically and financially suitable to become the permanent guardian, is suitable and able to provide a safe and permanent home for the child; has expressly committed to remain the permanent guardian for the duration of the child’s minority.” If the child is over the age of 12, the court will consider the child’s reasonable preference in deciding permanent guardianship.
If the child’s birth parents still want to visit with their child, then arrangements will be established by the court.
If a child is over the age of 16, they can request a change in guardianship. The court, a state agency, or the child’s birth parents can also request a change if it is caused by a change in material circumstances. Any modifications to a guardianship must be made in the best interest of the child and in accordance with Tennessee state law.
In some cases, you as a prospective guardian might be facing opposition from the birth parents or other relatives when you are trying to establish guardianship. We can protect your rights and develop a compelling case that demonstrates your fitness as a guardian, and how your guardianship would be in the best interest of the child.
If you are caring for a minor child and you need the legal authority to make decisions on the child’s behalf, such as for medical treatment, we invite you to discuss your case with a Maryville family lawyer from Shepherd and Associates, P.C. With more than 20 years of experience helping families resolve their legal difficulties, we can help you by filing a petition for guardianship with the court on your behalf and representing your interests in court.
As a Maryville family law attorneys, we’ve helped countless clients establish legal guardianships. To learn more about how we can help, please call Shepherd and Associates, P.C. at 865.225.9655 or fill out this contact form so that we can discuss your case today.