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Guardianship - Who is a Legal Parent? Part 10

A Guardian is a person appointed by the court to make non-financial decisions for another person, such as personal welfare, medical, housing and educational decisions, in the same way that a parent can for their minor child. Guardians may be appointed for minor children, via Guardianship of a Minor, and for incapacitated persons, via Guardianship of an Incapacitated Person.

In either case, this is a guardianship for protection of the person only. In Massachusetts, Guardians do not have any power over the financial or business affairs of the Respondent. In order to protect the proper or business affairs of a respondent a Conservator is needed.

Guardians and Conservators do not have the same legal rights and obligations as other legally recognized parental roles, but similar to de facto parents they may have some of the same rights.

A Petition for Guardianship is essentially a request for a permanent guardianship. Permanent here is not the same as its usual definition, because a permanent guardianship does not mean that it exists forever. A permanent guardianship simply means that the Guardianship case has gone to Judgment and no further court hearings will occur unless there is a change in circumstances. This is different from a Temporary Guardianship which requires returning to court at least every 90 days.

However, unless the guardian adopts a minor, the biological or legal parent may still have the ability to request a termination of the guardianship when circumstances change.  Therefore, a permanent guardianship is never actually permanent in the same way that an adoption is.  To learn more about adoption visit our previous post.  To learn more about guardianship click here.

Previous Post: Grandparent Visitation Rights v. De Facto Parents - Who is a Legal Parent: Part 9

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