Legal Guardianship in Ohio
A legal guardian typically looks after a child's basic needs, including
shelter, education, and medical care, while the parents retain their legal
decision-making rights. A guardian may also look after the child's
assets if a guardian of the estate has not been appointed.
A guardianship is different from adoption in the fact that the biological
parents may be required to provide
child support and can still make decisions regarding the child's well-being. The
child also will still retain inheritance rights if the biological parents
die without leaving a will. With adoption, the biological parents relinquish
all parenting rights, and the child has no claim to inheritance without a will.
Types of Guardianship
Guardian ad litem: A guardian ad litem is often appointed to act as if in the child's
shoes during litigation, often involving divorce, domestic abuse or child
custody proceedings. The guardian is charged with representing the child's
best interests, which may or may not be in line with the parents, or even
the court, position. A guardian ad litem may also be appointed to advocate
for an adult who is mentally disabled or incapacitated.
Standby Guardianship or Emergency Guardian: Ohio law allows a parent to arrange for temporary care or custody of a
minor in the event that the parent becomes physically or mentally unable
to care for the child, or dies, and allows the standby guardian to assume
responsibility for the child to avoid the child's placement in foster
care. In other situations, an emergency guardian may also be appointed
by the court when there are questions of domestic abuse or an unexpected
circumstance that renders the parents unable to care for the child. This
role is most often assumed by a foster parent.
Interim Guardian: Often a foster parent, an interim guardian is appointed to care for the
child for a limited period of time until permanent guardianship can be arranged.
Guardianship of your own child: Though it sounds redundant, if your child is the beneficiary of a significant
inheritance, award or income, you may need to petition for guardianship
of the child's finances. It is then the parent's responsibility
to show the court how the assets are being managed and invested.
Guardian of the Estate (Conservator): An impartial third party is appointed to oversee the child's finances,
often a lawyer or accountant. This is common when a child receives significantly
more income than the parents, or if the parents have mishandled the child's assets.
Guardian of the Person: A guardian of the person is responsible for all areas related to the child's
wellbeing, including shelter, education and medical care, while a separate
guardian of the estate is charged with looking after the child's assets.
Plenary Guardian: A plenary guardian has all the responsibilities one would assume of a
parent. Both guardian of the person and estate, the guardian makes decisions
about the child's welfare and finances.
Limited Guardian: A limited guardian is appointed to oversee one specific area of a person's
life. Usually a limited guardian will control decisions regarding the
person's health. For instance, if parents are opposed to certain medical
treatments for their child, or if an adult is not mentally capable of
making health decisions but can function otherwise, a limited guardian
may be charged with deciding in the person's best interests.
Schedule Your Case Review Today
If you have questions about your responsibilities as a guardian, want to
pursue a guardianship or make arrangements for the guardianship of your
own children, speak with the experienced attorneys at Richard L. Morris
Co., L.P.A to discuss your options.
Contact us at (614) 656-4252
or online for a
free initial case consultation.