A legal guardian may be appointed by the Probate and Family Court for the support and maintenance of a minor child if it is determined that the parents of the child are unfit. Once appointed, a guardian has the right to make decisions about the care, custody and well-being of the child without input from the parents.
A parent may be considered unfit if unable to carry out the duties as a parent of the child. A parent may be deemed unfit for the following reasons:
- Abandonment of the child;
- Mental illnesses;
- Drug or alcohol addictions;
- Exposure to domestic violence.
The power to determine whether a guardian should be appointed rests with the judge at the Probate and Family Court. The judge must find "clear and convincing evidence" that the parent(s) are unfit and that their behavior adversely affects the child's well-being. Simply put, being a "better parent" is not sufficient grounds for being appointed legal guardian. When ruling on an application for guardianship, the judge will act in accordance with what is considered to be in the best interest of the minor child.
All proceedings for establishing guardianship are governed by the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code. The process for establishing guardianship is quite complicated. If you are considering seeking an appointment as a guardian, you should first consult with a Massachusetts guardianship attorney.
Contact A Guardianship Attorney For A Free Consultation
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Massachusetts guardianship attorney, please contact us. You can call our Franklin office at 508-528-8885, or send us an email. From our offices, we assist clients in Roslindale and surrounding communities.