Guardianship can be one of the most confusing legal processes, particularly for individuals who find themselves unexpectedly involved in a guardianship case.
Today, we're taking an in-depth look at how guardianship works in MO, so you know what to expect from your case (and, if you're a parent, so you can take the necessary steps to provide your children with a guardian).
What Is Guardianship?
Guardianship allows an individual other than a child's biological parents to assume legal and/or physical custody of a child, effectively gaining parental rights legally.
How Does Guardianship Work in MO?
In Missouri, guardianship is determined through the courts. There are a few common scenarios that result in guardianship cases:
- A child's parents die, and the parents named an individual as a guardian for the child in their will(s);
- A child's parents become incapacitated, and a guardian must care for the child, or;
- A child's parents are deemed unfit (due to behavior such as domestic abuse), and a guardian must step in to care for the children.
Once the court initiates a guardianship case, the first order of business is determining whether the subject of the case (the ward) cannot care for themself.
The court will work with a variety of third party experts, such as medical professionals, to determine whether the ward has capacity. If the ward indeed lacks the capacity to care for themself, the court will acknowledge the need for a guardian and move forward with the case.
The court will also engage in various processes to determine whether the guardian is indeed capable of caring for their prospective ward.
If the court approves of the guardian, the guardian will gain legal and physical custody of the ward. As a result, they also gain the capacity to make decisions for the ward about their finances, healthcare, etc. The court will conduct regular check-ins with the guardian to ensure that they're genuinely acting in the ward's best interests.
At Smith Law Offices, LLC, we'll work with you in your guardianship case. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (636) 400-1177.