Guardianship is an essential yet commonly misunderstood element of family law in Rochester, New York. The guardianship system exists to ensure that individuals who are not old enough or are otherwise unable to take care of themselves have competent and reliable people who can handle these responsibilities on their behalf. While many people conflate guardianship with adoption, guardianship only asserts the legal right to make important decisions on behalf of the other person, it does not involve anything related to parentage or adoption.
It is possible to establish guardianship over a child, an incapacitated adult, or an adult with mental and/or developmental disabilities. For guardianship to be established, the intended guardian must file a petition with the family court explaining the situation and their capabilities to handle the responsibilities that guardianship requires. The court has a legal responsibility to rule in the best interests of the person who will be under the guardian’s custody, especially when it comes to petitioning for guardianship of a child.
The Trotto Law Firm, PC, has years of experience in Rochester family law, and our firm has successfully handled many past guardianship cases. We excel at solving complex legal problems on behalf of our clients, and we understand that guardianship commonly raises lots of difficult questions. Therefore, our goal is to help our clients understand the requirements and procedures necessary for establishing legal guardianship in the most streamlined manner possible.
While it is possible to adopt a child in the state, this requires certain prerequisites that may not apply in your situation. For an adoption to occur, one of the child’s biological parents must have either surrendered their parental rights voluntarily or lost those rights due to past bad behavior. Guardianship does not replace the guarded child’s parentage at all; it simply establishes the guardian as the individual responsible for making important legal decisions for the child.
Guardianship of a child most commonly arises as a need when the child’s parents are unfit to handle their parental responsibilities, but they have not done anything to warrant the involuntary termination of their parental rights. A few examples of when guardianship of a child may become necessary include:
Whatever your case entails, if you believe you have grounds to petition for guardianship of a child in Rochester, an experienced attorney can streamline the process for you substantially. In addition, a Rochester guardianship attorney can assist you in crafting your petition, including gathering any documentation or other evidence you need to substantiate your case in the family court review process.
In the event that a parent wishes to resume parental responsibility for their child, the child’s appointed guardian may need an attorney’s assistance if they have reason to believe that doing so would not benefit the best interests of the child. The team at the Trotto Law Firm, PC, can provide comprehensive legal counsel through every aspect of your guardianship case.
While most guardianship cases filed in Rochester pertain to guardianship rights over children, it may be necessary for some individuals to seek guardianship over certain adults. A few of the most common reasons for seeking guardianship over an adult include:
Ultimately, if an adult is unable to take care of their own basic needs on their own or if they would be likely to harm themselves if they attempted to do so, guardianship may be the best option for ensuring their long-term safety.
An experienced Rochester guardianship attorney is a valuable asset for anyone who must petition for guardianship over a child or an adult. When you choose the Trotto Law Firm, PC, to represent you, our team will help you draft a complete and compelling petition that limits uncertainty for the court. Most guardianship cases unfold relatively quickly, but having legal counsel on your side can streamline the process in various ways. Additionally, should any disputes arise regarding your petition, your attorney will be able to address these complications on your behalf and help you overcome any contest to your petition.
Another key area of concern with which your attorney can assist is the financial aspect of guardianship. For example, if you are petitioning for guardianship over a child who has received an inheritance from family members, your attorney can help you ensure appropriate financial protections for the child. The Rochester family court is most likely to approve guardianship petitions that are as minimally invasive as possible, and the team at the Trotto Law Firm, PC, has years of experience guiding clients through such cases. We also provide a full range of professional legal services for related family law cases, including adoptions, custody disputes, divorces, and more.
A: Guardianship establishes legal custody over a child when the child’s parents are unfit or unable to maintain custody. Guardianship is usually approved for an extended relative or close family friend of the child’s parents. Death of a parent, overseas military service, abandonment, deportation, and severe parental illness are just a few possible reasons for guardianship to be issued in Rochester.
A: Guardianship allows an appointed guardian to make important decisions on behalf of the person in their care. While guardianship most often pertains to a child who does have biological parents willing or able to maintain their parental responsibilities, it can also apply to adults who are unable to care for or make important decisions for themselves. When a child is involved, guardianship bestows legal parental custody to the guardian without an adoption process.
A: Guardianship can only be granted to a person if they petition the court for guardianship, and the only legally enforced prerequisite for guardianship is that the petitioner must be over the age of 18. For example, an 18-year-old could petition for guardianship over a younger sibling if their parents are unfit for parental responsibility. In addition, the petitioner must be able to make a compelling case that their current relationship serves as a suitable foundation for a guardianship appointment.
A: Technically, no, there is no legal requirement to hire an attorney if you plan to petition the Rochester family court for guardianship. However, the process is more involved than many petitioners expect. Hiring experienced legal counsel can significantly improve your experience with the process and shorten the time needed to complete the petition. Additionally, your Rochester guardianship attorney can provide specific advice for your unique situation to help prevent unexpected complications from arising.
The Trotto Law Firm, PC, understands the importance of guardianship appointments in Rochester, and our firm has assisted many past clients with their guardianship petitions. If you believe you need to petition for guardianship over a child or an incapacitated adult for any reason, we can help. Contact our firm today and schedule your consultation with a Rochester guardianship attorney who can answer your questions and guide you through your legal proceedings with confidence.
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