What is the Guardianship Law?
In a previous blog, we’ve discussed guardianship in relation to an elderly person. It is the legal relationship between a guardian and a person who is unable to take care of his/her own affairs. But what about a minor? Is it a different process?
The first thing you need to know is you is guardianship considered a last resort measure in New Jersey. For instance, let’s say your niece is living in terrible conditions. Her mother is a drug addict who is unwilling to clean up and her father is unknown. Fearing that the Division of Child Protection and Permanency will remove the child from the home, you decide to apply for guardianship.
You should know that are two types of guardianships in New Jersey. A general guardianship, also known as a plenary guardianship, is for people who are incapable of expressing or making decisions, such as someone with a severe disability. A limited guardianship covers any decisions concerning the child’s educational, residential, legal, medical, and financial issues.
Before applying to become a guardian in your niece’s life, you should know the following:
- The parents can remain involved in the child’s life. This means if there is an emergency, that parent may be asked to provide consent as next of kin.
- The guardianship law requires all applications to have up-to-date assessments from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a medical doctor.
- There can be co-guardians, meaning there can be more than one person declared as a guardian. That person can be either a family member, an interested party or even a government agency. All co-guardians must be involved in the decisions of the child.
You don’t need an attorney to apply for guardianship; however, as we always stress, any time you need to deal with court system it is best to have a lawyer involved. If you are considering applying to become a guardian, let us help you out. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.