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Guardianship of a Minor

Guardianship of a minor child is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child or authority over a child’s property. Relatives, friends of the family or other interested persons may be considered as potential legal guardians. Appointment as guardian requires the filing of a petition and approval by the court. Sometimes a child needs a guardian because the child’s parents have died. A child may also need a guardian if the child is not receiving adequate care or is being abused.

A guardianship does not terminate the legal relationship between the biological parents and the child. As guardian, you are responsible for providing for food, clothing, shelter, education, and all the medical needs of the child. You must provide for the safety, protection, and physical and emotional growth of the child.

A guardianship automatically ends when the child reaches the age of 18, is adopted, marries, is emancipated by court order, enters military service, or dies. If none of these events has occurred, the child, a parent, or the guardian may petition the court for termination of guardianship.

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