Posted on: 20 February 2015
If your child with special needs is about to turn 18 years old, you may want to visit a family law attorney to find out if there are legal steps you must take to protect the child. Your family lawyer will most likely suggest filing papers for guardianship rights, and here are three things you may want to know about this.
Why it is necessary
Filing for legal guardianship is vital if you have a child with special needs because the government will automatically view this child as an adult once he or she reaches the age of 18. While age 18 does make a person a legal adult, an 18-year old child with special needs may not be able to function like an adult.
What this means
When you have guardianship rights over a person, it gives you control over making decisions for that person. This can include decisions about:
- Money and income
- Other financial matters
If you do not obtain legal guardianship over the child, he or she may make poor decisions about these things, but you will not be able to do anything about it. Having these rights helps you protect the child and allows you to keep making important decisions for him or her.
How it is done
Applying for legal guardianship can be a hard process to complete in some cases, but not always. It often depends on the disabilities the child has. If he or she is able to work and make certain decisions, the court may have a difficult time giving you rights over the child.
On the other hand, if it is obvious that the child will never be able to make good decisions, and if the court feels that you have the child's best interest at heart, the court may decide to approve your request.
To obtain guardianship rights, your lawyer will fill out the necessary paperwork and will file it with the court. The court will set up a hearing, and you will need to attend this with your lawyer. The judge may ask you questions and may even ask the child questions, and this is done to help reach a decision.
If you would like to learn more about how to protect your child, visit a family lawyer from a firm like Leonard & Kershaw. He or she can answer your questions, give you advice, and help you through the process of applying for legal guardianship.Share