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Talking about private guardianships

By April 2, 2024Family law

If you have found yourself in a position where you wish to take over the care of a child that is not
biologically your own, you may be wondering what does this mean for me, how do I protect the child,
and how do I legally establish my role as their guardian? The answer to that is often a private guardianship.

Private guardianship occurs when a non-biological parent, such as an aunt/uncle, grandparent, or close
family friend applies to the court for an Order of Guardianship of a minor child. This may occur for
numerous reasons, but some common reasons may be because the child has been apprehended from
their parents, the death of a parent, or perhaps a parent has expressed their inability to care for a child.
In these cases, a family member or friend may either be named as the appropriate guardian, or
someone may decide that they are willing and financially able to step up to this role.
Guardianship is unlike adoption as it does not legally terminate the biological parents’ rights over a
child, nor is it necessarily a permanent measure. Guardianship orders, unlike an adoption, can be set
aside in the future if circumstances change.

If you are anticipating becoming, or already are, the caregiver of a child, a guardianship application is an
important step, as it makes your role clear to others, creates certainty for your family and for the child,
and provides a legal basis for your position as the caregiver of the child. Taking this step may be required
by certain organizations, for instances Child and Family Services may request this if the child was
apprehended. Or, you may find that you need this document as evidence of your role in the child’s life,
for instance when traveling, attending medical appointments, enrolling the child in school, etc.
Although, the ultimate Order of Guardianship is not an overly complicated document, unfortunately the
steps to obtaining this Order can be somewhat confusing for the lay person, as it requires numerous
court documents and affidavits to be filed, service on multiple individuals and sometimes organizations
that have been involved with the child, and often at least one court appearance.

If you have found yourself in a position where you are considering guardianship, you may already be in
situation where you feel somewhat overwhelmed and uncertain about the circumstances. To help add a
bit more predictability in your life, Wolseley Law is now offering a flat rate for uncontested
guardianships.

Book your consult to learn more about this process and how we can help you.