What Can Unmarried Couples Living Separately Who Can Not Agree As To Which Parents Should Have Guardianship Over Their Disabled Minor Child Do?
Today’s question comes from Andrea.
Because these parents cannot come to an agreement as to who shall be the guardian, then one of the parents must petition the court in the proper county and request that the court appoint a guardian.
The court does not take guardianship decisions lightly. And often, it will require expert testimony from psychologists, physicians, and social workers before making a decision. The court does this because it wants to be sure that the final decision regarding guardianship of this child is in the child’s best interest.
Keep in mind that the court may not approve guardianship for a parent who has had issues with substance abuse, has committed a felony, or has had a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment of a child.
The guardianship cases normally take between two to three months to complete and they may be costly due to the fact that we’re using expert testimony.
In the end, the court may appoint one parent as a guardian, both parents as co-guardians, or in a very rare situation where the parents cannot agree and it is a very contested case, and the parents have the inability to communicate and to co-parent, the court may appoint an independent guardian. So neither parent will be a guardian, they will have a third party independent person appointed as a guardian.
For these reasons, it may be beneficial for the parents to sit down and discuss this amongst themselves to try to come to an agreement as to guardianship. Maybe share the time.
Maybe one parent is better suited to handle this child’s needs full-time and the other parent can be there part-time. Whatever decision is best for your situation, my recommendation is always, always, always try to come to an agreement before you put your future in the judge’s hands. The judge does not understand your family dynamics as much as you do.
I hope that I have answered this question for you, Andrea, and anybody else who has the same issue.
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