WHAT IS A GUARDIAN IN MARYLAND?
FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN MARYLAND
What is a Guardian in Maryland?
A guardian is someone appointed by the Court to assume legal responsibility for another person or another person’s property, or both. Guardianship is appropriate and necessary when an individual is not capable of making their own decisions in society. Three examples are:
- Minors – Individuals who are under the age of 18
- Mentally Disabled – Individuals who have been diagnose and treated for mental disability
- Elderly – Certain elderly individuals can be classified as unable to care for themselves, and will therefor require a guardian
For the sake of time, we are going to focus on guardianship over the elderly and minors, two common instances in which families may encounter guardianship. Our family law attorney in Maryland has vast experience with guardianship applications, and has the knowledge and ability to help you through even the most complicate guardianship / custody procedures.
Who Can Be a Guardian?
Maryland law establishes a priority of individuals eligible to serve as guardians. We list them below from highest to lowest:
- Designated Ward – In the case of the elderly or disabled, if the individual established a ward prior to them being deemed incapable, this individual will hold highest priority
- Blood Relatives – Family members of the individual, specifically by blood
- Any other individual with particular interest – this could include anyone with valid relationship to the individual
It should be noted that an individual with higher priority may be passed over and one with lower priority appointed if good cause is shown.
Child and Elderly Guardianship
The most common reason for guardianship applications is to receive medical care, or some type of state benefit or service, such as education. If an elderly person is deemed incapable of making their own medical or financial decisions, then a guardianship should be applied for in order to make sure the individual has access to the care they need.
In the case of children, a child will not be able to get access to medical care or register for school unless it is their legal guardian that does so for them. In many instances, the mother or father of the child are not being responsible parents, and the care of the child is left to another family member. That family member may be doing the best job they can, but without legal guardianship, the child will not be able to go to the doctor or register for school without the current parent.
How to Apply for Guardianship
The first step in receiving legal guardian status is applying with the court. Its technically called filing a petition with the court, and it can be a complicated process depending on the circumstances. Although it is always recommended to hire an attorney for these type of legal matters, certain guardianship cases in which the parents or individual needing guardianship is cooperating fully could be completed without legal representation. Individuals interested in taking this approach should call their local court and get the required applications.
Is it Necessary to Hire an Attorney to File for Guardianship?
Guardianship proceedings can be handled without an attorney, but the procedure is complicated, and becomes increasingly difficult as the number of interested parties increases. If there is a necessary party purposefully hindering the process or not cooperating fully for some other reason, the process will be more involved and hiring an attorney may be in your best interest.
Need Help Filing a Guardianship Petition? Call our Family Law Attorney in Maryland!
We are experienced in all facets of family law and have the necessary experience to make the petition process go smoothly. Whether you have a family member making things difficult, or simply cannot locate the child’s parents, we can help. Call our family law attorney in Maryland today!
CONTACT FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY IN MARYLAND FOR HELP
The Burton Law Firm understands how divorce can affect you and your family’s life indefinitely. Having years of experience handling all types of family law cases throughout the state of Maryland, you can trust us to handle your case with care. Give us a call at (301) 420-5540 to speak with a family law lawyer in Maryland.
THE OUTCOME OF YOUR CASE MATTERS TO US
Contact our office as soon as possible so our team of Family Law attorneys can properly evaluate your case and protect your rights.