Guardianship In Florida – An Expert Guide From A Family Lawyer In Miami FL
In today’s modern world, there is no such thing as the average family. The people caring for children may not always be their birth parents. This is because there are numerous situations that could result in another individual being named a child’s guardian. This expert advice from a family lawyer in Miami, FL, helps to explain what guardianship means in Florida.
What Is A Guardian?
In the case of a minor, a guardian in Florida is somebody who has similar responsibilities as a parent. Guardians have the responsibility for the following:
- Making financial or personal decisions for their wards.
- Caring for their wards as well as their property.
A guardian can be an individual person or, possibly, an institution, such as a nonprofit organization or bank trust. Florida prefers guardianships to allow wards freedom. However, the court must appoint a guardian whenever a ward cannot care for himself or herself.
A family lawyer in Miami, FL, will ensure that the legal process of appointing a guardian is fair and smooth.
Guardianship For Minors In Florida
In the state of Florida, the parents of a child are automatically his or her guardians. However, if the child’s father has no parental rights, the court must first establish paternity.
Should a child’s parents pass away or become unable to carry out their guardianship role, the child needs another guardian. This is the responsibility of the state. A guardian can also be solely appointed over the property of a child. This is only applicable if the minor has assets or an inheritance worth more than $15,000. A guardianship remains in place until the minor has reached the age of 18. Then, that individual will take over the responsibility for himself or herself. That is, of course, if he or she has sufficient physical and mental capability to do so.
It is possible to preemptively choose a guardian for a child. For example, a parent may name his or her chosen guardian for the child in his or her last will and testament. In such a case, the preemptively named guardian will be the Florida courts’ default choice. However, the individual must qualify to be a guardian and be capable of performing the necessary responsibilities. What if the surviving parent wishes to relinquish his or her own guardianship? Then, he or she may also choose a guardian for his or her child.
How Is A Guardian Appointed In Florida?
To appoint a guardian for a child, a prospective guardian must file the following:
- A petition for the appointment of a guardian.
- An application that would appoint him or her as the child’s guardian.
Not everyone is a suitable guardian. Any prospective guardian must be an adult and must also be a resident of Florida. A nonresident is able to apply, but, there are some qualifications he or she must meet.
- He or she must be a direct relative of the child. (This means a spouse, child, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, nephew or niece).
- He or she must be the legally adopted parent of the child.
No convicted felon can make an application for guardianship.
Once an application has been filed, courses and background checks must be completed by the guardian. This will determine whether he or she is eligible. There will be no guardianship granted before proof has been presented to the court that these requirements have been met.
In the court, the judge will consider the petitions for guardianship, as well as the guardian’s eligibility. The state will appoint every minor’s guardian based on the child’s best interests.
Choosing a reliable family lawyer in Miami, FL, is essential when applying for guardianship. Our expert team can offer you all the advice you need to make a successful application.