What is Guardianship?

Less Than Custody But Better Than Nothing?

Guardianship is a term that is commonly used, but generally misunderstood.

Guardianship and custody are NOT the same from a legal perspective. Parents have a superior right to custody, and have a higher level of rights than what guardianship provides.

Guardianship may be used if both parents are killed in an accident or otherwise predecease their child(ren). It is possible for a third party to have guardianship of a minor child (under 18 years of age) even if one or both of the child’s parents are alive. Those situations may include:

  • To qualify for health insurance coverage;
  • For consent to medical treatment or decisions about education and school;
  • To accept an inheritance;
  • To receive money from a lawsuit settlement.

Guardianships are sometimes the only avenue for parents of adult disabled children to keep tabs on their children. Limited guardianships are also permitted by Kentucky law.

Responsibilities & Duties

A guardian or limited guardian may be responsible for the care and control of the minor child, and/or managing the child’s finances. The guardian must file inventories with the Court to account for actions being taken on behalf of the child. Generally those are filed within sixty (60) days of appointment, and then every one to two years thereafter depending on what property the child owns.

Filing For Guardianship

Any interested person may file for guardianship over a minor child with the District Court. Once the petition is filed and the filing fee paid, a hearing date will generally be scheduled by the Court. The person requesting the appointment as guardian must be present at the court hearing. If the minor is 14 years old or older, the minor must also be present.

Interested in filing for guardianship but don’t know where to get started? Visit Our Attorneys page to learn more.

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