Sometimes it is the case that parents do not want to relinquish parental rights over a child, but they want the child to be taken care of by someone else for a time period. It could also be true that someone who has agreed to take care of a child temporarily or permanently does not want to be the child’s explicit parent. In both cases, guardianship is a solution that would satisfy all parties. A legal guardian has all the duties of a parent, but he/she is not an explicit parent. Legally, this can have several consequences.
Parents have complete control over decisions for the child with the assumption that they care about the child’s best interests. This means they can make decisions as to the child’s well-being and also financial decisions (like investments) on behalf of the child. Guardians, on the other hand, have specific rights granted by their status.
Guardians of the person, or physical guardians, are given control over decisions affecting the child’s well being, and they can also give permission for the child to get married, join the military, or enroll in school. Guardians of the estate, or legal guardians, are able to make decisions regarding the child’s financial assets (the estate). General guardians are granted both of these responsibilities.
If a guardian is named, there is still a legal bond between the biological parents and the child. This means that the parents are still required to provide financial support for the child even though the physical guardian might be the one with physical custody.
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