Adolescent Guardianship Lawyer in The Bronx, NY

With the help of our attorneys, you can protect your interests and your family.

If you are seeking guardianship of an adolescent or minor under 17 years of age, navigating the process can be difficult. Whether you’re a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or any other interested party seeking guardianship, a New York family law attorney can help you understand the process and ensure the best outcome for your case.

At New York Family Law Group, our team of adolescent guardianship attorneys is experienced in helping parents plan for the future of their children.

Call us today at (718) 293-1542 to schedule a consultation.

What Is Guardianship?

A guardian or “legal guardian” is a person or agency that has full authority to be responsible for a child’s care. These rights may be granted to a child under 18 years of age, or 18-21 years old if the young person consents.

This is very similar to custody and adoption. A person petitions the court to be legally responsible for the care of their child – their “guardian.” They have the same legal power as a parent to make decisions for their child.

However, unlike adoption, this is not a permanent relationship. The guardianship typically ends when:

  • The child reaches the age of 18 (or 21 with the child’s consent),
  • When the child marries, or
  • If the child dies 

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Who Needs Guardianship?

Adult relatives, close family friends, and child protective agencies can all petition for guardianship.

Guardianship may be granted in a variety of situations. For example, if both of a child’s parents die, the child may need a guardian. Or, if one or both parents are deported but the child remains in the U.S., a guardian may be needed for their welfare.

Guardianship may also be provided if a child is being abused and/or is in an unstable living environment that is not in their “best interests.” Before a legal guardian can be appointed, both parents and the child (if over 14) must consent, though guardians can be appointed without parental consent or the child’s consent in some situations.

A parent can also apply for a “standby guardianship” if they are sick and will not be able to take care of the child in the future. In this case, the guardianship does not take effect until the parent says that it will – for example, if they die, or become too ill to take care of the child.

Speaking with an experienced guardianship lawyer may be able to help parents plan their children’s future.

To schedule a consultation with us, call us at (718) 293-1542.

How Do You Become A Legal Guardian?

To begin the process, you must file a “Petition for Appointment of Guardian” in the county where the child lives.

You will need to bring:

  • The child’s birth certificate
  • Original death certificate of the parent(s), if deceased
  • Your proof of identification, such as a picture ID
  • Proof of residence

To determine the validity of the guardianship claim, a guardianship hearing will be held.

“We are focused on what matters to you, your family, and your future.”

Martin Mohr & Ethan Steward

Managing Partners of New York Family Law Group

How Does the Court Process Guardianships?

Guardianship involves certifying the individual’s disability and the creation of a report detailing how the special needs affect their ability to manage their affairs. A hearing will be called where both prospective and current guardians will have the opportunity to testify or provide information. It is important to establish clear guidelines regarding the duties of guardians and the tasks the ward may be able to handle. The courts have been very conservative in this area because guardianship is a transfer of rights between ward and guardian.

A guardianship can be indefinite. However, any person can petition the court at any moment to alter or cancel an existing guardianship or to appoint a replacement or additional guardians. The ward has the right to petition the court, which provides protection from guardianship being improperly established or administered. The New York team of guardianship lawyers is skilled in the identification of cases where guardianship may be reasonably contested.

This is crucial for families with individuals who have special needs. Take the time and set up complete guardianship agreements. It can be quite time-consuming. Parents with multiple children should clarify the guardianship issue as quickly as possible so that all parties are on the same page regarding care for siblings with special needs.

The experienced lawyers at New York Family Law Group may be able to help you protect your children.

Call us to discuss your child’s future today at  contact (718) 293-1542. We may be able to help.

What Happens In A Guardianship Hearing?

In a guardianship hearing, the court will determine if it’s in the child’s “best interests” to allow them to become their guardian.

This will be based on your testimony, the evidence about the child’s circumstances, the child’s wishes, and all other applicable circumstances, such as the death or incapacity of one or both parents. Then, the court will make a ruling and issue “letters of guardianship.”

Before the guardian’s appointment can become permanent, they will have to undergo fingerprinting and background checks. Any person with previous child abuse or neglect case cannot become a guardian.

Designating a Standby Guardian for a Child

In the event that a parent or legal guardian foresees being unable to care for their child due to certain circumstances, they may choose to designate a standby guardian. This involves completing a form called Designation of Standby Guardian, which enables the parent to name one or more individuals as standby guardians, in order of preference, to act on their behalf. The form also permits the parent to specify if the standby guardian(s) will be responsible for the child’s person, property, or both. 

To finalize the appointment of a standby guardian for a child, the parent or legal guardian must also have two adults sign the form as witnesses to the agreement. The Petition for Appointment of a Standby Guardian form, alongside the Designation of Standby Guardian form, should be submitted to the Surrogate Court or the Family Court. 

It is essential to work with a skilled New York guardianship attorney. An experienced lawyer may be able to help parents or legal guardians understand the legal implications of the guardianship arrangement and ensure that all required forms are completed accurately and submitted on time.

Is There A Difference Between Guardianship And Custody?

Custody is the right to have someone under your control. Two types of custody exist: legal and physical. Sometimes, the same person can have both physical and legal custody. But not in all cases. When an adult takes responsibility for the child’s welfare and is responsible to take care of it, this is called physical custody. The child usually lives with the adult. When an adult is given legal custody, it means that they have the authority to make important decisions about the child’s life.

Guardianship of an individual and property are both types of guardianship. Guardianship for a person is the care given by an adult to someone who is not able to care for themselves. A guardian is typically a minor. The guardian has responsibility for the child and cares for it. They also make decisions regarding the daily life of the child. Legal custody of a child is given to guardians. Guardians often also have physical custody.

New York State has very little difference between guardianship and custody. In other states, however, the rules can be very different. You should research the laws of the state in which the child is going to live if they live with you in New York. You can then decide if another relative should apply for guardianship or custody of your child.

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Seeking Adolescent Guardianship for a Child? Work With A New York Family Law Attorney!

At New York Family Law Group, Martin Mohr and Ethan Steward have years of experience with guardianship cases and have helped relatives and family friends obtain guardianship even in difficult, contested situations.

If you wish to become the guardian of an adolescent, contact us at  (718) 293-1542 now for a case review and consultation, and see how we can assist you throughout the process.

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