Legal Guardianship of a Minor in Florida
Legal guardianship of a minor in Florida, whether the responsibility extends to the minor’s person or property, brings with it unique questions of law and profound implications for the minor ward. If you are currently navigating your way through the court system while coping with such emotionally fraught issues that arise in these cases, it may be time to talk to a Florida guardianship attorney at the the Law Offices of Travis Walker. We can be the solid advocate you need to help establish guardianship of the minor in your life.
Types of Guardianships for Minors
There are two types of guardianship of a child, each with important roles to play in a minor’s life. This includes:
- Guardianship of the person: This type of arrangement allows for the guardian to make daily decisions on behalf of their ward, including issues like who will take care of them, where they will live and go to school, choosing doctors and making healthcare decisions.
- Guardianship of the property is for a minor who needs help managing financially based assets only.
Who Qualifies for Legal Guardianship of a Child in Florida?
Under Florida law, a guardian must be a resident of Florida who is 18 years or older. An individual can be disqualified from being a guardian if they are incapacitated, have been convicted of a felony, have been judicially determined to have neglected or abused a child, or been found guilty of or pleaded no contest to child abuse statutes defined in Florida Statutes Section 435.04.
If a parent or legal guardian of the minor can function as guardian of the property, they should be considered first. Additionally, the parents may choose to choose someone to be designated as guardian in case the need should arise.
When is Guardianship of a Minor Necessary?
Unlike with the guardianship of an adult, legal guardianship of a minor requires no finding of incapacity of the minor. If the parents of a minor child have been deemed unfit for parenting due to issues like abuse, incapacity, incarceration or have died, a Florida judge may appoint a guardian of the person, guardian of property, or both. The parents may complete a pre-need guardian directive, which allows the parents to choose someone as a guardian should guardianship be necessary.
Guardianship of property can also arise when a minor receives more than $15,000 as part of a settlement or judgment, even if they are in the care of the parents or legal guardian. This money will be placed into a guardianship account. This account is designed to protect this money from anyone who would attempt to take these funds, the parents or legal guardians included.
Guardianship of both the person and property of a minor can arise when the parents die, and the minor child receives either a settlement from a wrongful death case or a life insurance policy. At this point, they will need a guardian to protect both their assets as well as provide parental guidance.
Florida Process for Appointing a Guardian
Guardianship of a minor starts with a petition for the appointment of a guardian. This petition must give formal notice to any parent who is not included in the petition or has not consented to the appointment to be valid. If the minor is living with someone who is not their parent, then this person must be given notice.
If the parties on notice give consent for the appointment, a guardianship court will not need to proceed with the hearing. However, if consent is withheld, then interested parties will attend the court proceedings where the judge will name the instant minor’s “guardian of the person” or “guardian of the property.”
Your Three Steps to Moving Forward
Guardianship can be a sensitive topic, implicating important life decisions in the life of a vulnerable young person who has often suffered recent trauma for a guardianship to be necessitated. If you have questions about guardianship of a minor in Stuart, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Tallahassee, and other locations in the Treasure Coast, a consultation offers clarity instead of confusion. We recommend:
Attend a virtual or in-office consultation so we can better understand your case and determine how we can help guide you to success.
Retain our firm so we may lead you through the legal process as quickly and painlessly as possible.