How to Begin the Process of Choosing a Guardian for Your Child

Choosing a guardian for a child is one of the most difficult things a parent may ever have to do. From parenting style to living situation to your gut feeling about this or that person’s ability to love your children as well as you do—there are endless issues to consider before you make the final decision.

What follows is a list of only some of the important questions parents may want to ask themselves as they consider their options for guardian of their minor children:

1. Where does your potential guardian live? Will your child be able to stay in a familiar environment during the emotional transition, or will he or she have to move to another city or state?

2. How well does your child know the potential guardian? A familiar parenting style is important, but just as important is how well your child knows the potential guardian and what level of trust he or she feels. If you’re choosing a sibling who lives far away, you may want to make an effort to foster a close relationship between your child and the person you’re nominating as guardian.

3. Is your potential guardian emotionally, physically and financially prepared to care for your child or children? An aging grandparent may love your children without reservation, but may not by physically able to care for a high energy youngster. Likewise, a beloved aunt in her early twenties simply may not have the financial ability to provide for a young quartet of siblings.

4. Does one or more of your children have special needs that will require special knowledge or care? The sudden responsibilities of parenthood would be difficult for anyone, but sudden responsibility for a special-needs child can be overwhelmingly so. Make sure you’ve prepared your potential guardian, and provided for whatever your children may need.

5. Have you discussed your decision with your potential guardian? Before you name someone as your child’s guardian, you’ll want to have a frank and open discussion with them about your mutual hopes and concerns. Make sure your guardian knows that he or she can say no if they are unable to take on the responsibility for any reason—and ensure that you have a backup nomination (or two or three) just in case your first choice does have to decline.

Having children means always planning ahead and thinking about the future, even as you try to live in the present and appreciate the small moments in every day. Nominating a guardian for your children makes it that much easier to focus on the here and now, because in the back of your mind you’ll know that your children will be protected if something happens to you. Let our firm help you achieve that peace of mind.

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