Currently, there are many families that don’t follow the traditional pattern of two parents with children. Frequently, children are living with friends and relatives instead of their parents. When this happens, the parties should go to court and get a guardianship so that the custodial adults will have all the rights to act for the children as parents can. Although guardianships sound like a permanent loss of parental rights, this is not correct. Guardianships, like all orders and judgments relating to children, can be changed if the circumstances change. The natural parent wanting the child to return to the parents home may be sufficient to terminate the guardianship. A guardianship has many advantages including education, insurance, and medical care.
The child can go to school from the home of the custodian. Towns spend money for every student in the school system. They frequently oppose enrolling students who live with relatives unless there is a guardianship.
The custodial parent can enroll the child in their family health insurance policy with a guardianship. This can be an important issue as even routine medical visits incur large bills without insurance.
With a guardianship, the custodial adult can give permission for medical treatment and activities. Other than emergencies, doctors shouldn’t treat children without parental consent. Schools won’t let children go on field trip or play sports without parental consent. Other organized activities won’t allow participation without permission. While the natural parent may be available to grant permission, a guardianship gives the custodian, the ability to deal with all of these issues.
If you have questions about children living with relatives consult an experience Massachusetts Family Law Attorney.