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Guardianship – Temporary Suspension of Parental Rights

When a child’s biological parents have died, abandoned the child, have entered military duty or have failed to adequately care for the child due to health issues or drug abuse, the family law court has the power to appoint a legal guardian.

Through the guardianship process, the biological parent’s rights are temporarily suspended and the legal guardian assumes many of the parental rights and responsibilities. As such, the legal guardian is responsible for the child’s health, safety, education and welfare.

A guardianship is terminated when the biological parent or the child petitions the court to terminate the guardianship or when the child is adopted, marries, dies, enters military service or reaches the age of majority. The court has the power to terminate the guardianship upon a finding that the guardianship is no longer necessary.