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Guardian and Ward

Factors In Choosing A Guardian

The choice of a guardian for a child is guided by the needs of the ward. The ward's age, affections for certain people, education, and morals are all important considerations. Courts prefer to allow a child to remain with a competent person who has been caring for the child rather than disrupt a stable home. Courts also examine the financial condition, health, judgment, morals, and character of the person who seeks guardianship of the ward. Although age alone is not a determining factor, it may be material to the individual's ability to fulfill the duties of guardian for the entire period of guardianship. Affluence is not a prerequisite for a guardian, although a guardian must be reasonably secure financially. As a rule, courts attempt to entrust the care of a child to someone with the same religious background as the child's.

A divorced parent is not disqualified from appointment as guardian of a child's property simply because the DIVORCE decree has awarded the other parent custody. The court almost always favors a parent over other relatives or someone not related to the child unless there is reason to believe the parent is not a fit guardian. A close family member is not disqualified from caring for a child whose property he or she is eligible to inherit, unless it appears that he or she is unkind to the child or concerned only with the wealth to be gained from the child's property.

Sometimes the responsibilities of guardianship are divided between two people. In one case, a mother continued to have custody of her children after her husband's death, but the court refused her request to be appointed guardian of the children's estates because she dissipated the family allowance. A parent can also be disqualified under different statutes for "notoriously bad conduct," by "willfully and knowingly abandoning the child," or for "failing to maintain the child" when he or she has the financial ability to contribute to the child's support.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Good behaviour to Health Insurance - Further ReadingsGuardian and Ward - Persons For Whom A Guardian Is Appointed, Selection Of A Guardian, Factors In Choosing A Guardian