When a child who is not your own needs help, you may wonder what you as a non-parent can do. It is possible for a non-parent to obtain the legal authority to parent and make decisions for a child in New Jersey. This type of arrangement is called a kinship legal guardianship and allows relatives to step in and act as parents when the child’s parents are not able to do so.
To qualify for kinship legal guardianship, the following requirements must be met:
- The child’s parents are unable to care for the child
- The person applying for guardianship is related to the child or is a close family friend
- The guardianship is in the child’s best interest
- The child has been in the care of the person applying for at least 12 months
- The person applying is able to financially care for the child.
The biological parents remain responsible for child support and have the right to visitation with the child during the guardianship, unless otherwise determined by the court.
A guardian is given most of the same rights that a parent has, including arranging for and consenting to medical care, day-to-day decisions about the child, educational decisions including applying to college, and all other care necessary for the safety and well-being of the child. A guardian does not have the authority to consent to the child being adopted by anyone and cannot change the child’s legal name.
Guardianship orders are complex and detail important rights. Because of this it is important to work with an attorney who has experience in this area of law and can provide solid legal advice throughout the process.
DeTorres & DeGeorge is ready to represent you in your kinship legal guardianship case in Glenn Gardner, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Call us to schedule a consultation at 908-284-6005.