Perhaps you are currently facing some struggles that make it difficult for you to parent your child, and you need a friend or family member to help. Or maybe you are acting as the primary caretaker for a child you love while his or her parents make some changes in their lives. In either case, you are working together to do what you feel is in the child’s best interests.

However, if your child is currently in someone else’s care, or if you are currently caring for a child for whom you do not have parental rights, it can be challenging to ensure his or her needs are being met. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, you may want to consider a temporary guardianship. Without legal guardianship, a child’s caretaker may have difficulty with necessary everyday tasks, like providing medical care for the child or enrolling him or her in school.

In this article, learn more about legal guardianship and the services Kevin Kenney offers as a Kansas City guardianship attorney.

What is Legal Guardianship?

Guardianship establishes a temporary legal custodian for a child. Guardianship orders are often used in cases when a parent is currently unable to parent their child and needs to place them in the custody of a close friend or family member. This friend or relative can step in to petition the court for legal custody of the child. In other cases, the person who is subject to the guardianship may be an adult who, due to factors like age, illness, or disability, requires someone else to step in and manage their personal and financial affairs.

Whereas adoption terminates the biological parents’ rights to the child and establishes new legal parents for the child, guardianship leaves the biological parents’ rights intact; the parents maintain this legal connection to their child. Adoptions are permanent, while guardianships are often temporary. This means that the child’s parents can petition the court to terminate the guardianship when they feel they are ready to parent again.

Guardianships can be beneficial for all parties involved. Here are a few reasons to consider a legal guardianship for the child you are caring for:

  • Stability for the child: The primary benefit of a legal guardianship is for the child. Rather than potentially staying with a parent who is not currently in a position to parent them properly, or being placed in the foster care system, a guardianship allows the child to stay with a stable relative who loves them and is ready to give them the care that they need.
  • Legal rights for the guardian: Under a guardianship, the designated legal custodian is awarded all of the legal rights and responsibilities that a natural parent would have to their child. This means that the guardian can take the child to the doctor, receive medical records, include the child on their health insurance, enroll them in school, and more.
  • Temporary solution for parents: Guardianships allow the child’s parents time to improve their situation and prepare to take over parenting when they are ready. This is often a voluntary, temporary solution for struggling parents who wish to keep their parental rights intact.

Guardianship in Kansas City

If you are considering petitioning the court for legal custody of a child you care about, the first step in the process is to contact a Kansas or Missouri guardianship attorney. It is important to work with an experienced attorney throughout this process to ensure you are complying with all state laws and completing the necessary steps based on your individual circumstances.

Kevin Kenney has completed hundreds of guardianships in Missouri and Kansas and is very familiar with the laws and procedures necessary to establish a legal guardian in each of these states. He can help you complete all steps of the legal guardianship process, from filing the petition with the court, to completing the necessary legal paperwork, to extending or terminating the guardianship and more.

To discuss your individual circumstances and your options for establishing guardianship in Kansas City, contact Kevin today to schedule a consultation.