When a custodial parent becomes ill, is required to travel abroad or is otherwise temporarily unable to care for his minor child, transferring temporary guardianship of the child is sometimes necessary. The state of Tennessee has mandated a series of requirements regarding temporary guardianship. These requirements are designed to ensure that the child's safety and welfare are maintained.
Rights of Non-Custodial Parents
Whenever possible, the courts recognize the rights of the parent as the primary caretaker of his child. In instances where one parent becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to care for her child, the right of the remaining to the parent to care for the child is typically automatic. However, when parents are divorced and the custodial parent is unable for any reason to care for the child, Tennessee law requires that the non-custodial parent file for temporary guardianship of the child in order to regain the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. These motions are typically granted unless clear and convincing evidence is presented to the court that awarding temporary guardianship of the minor child is against the child's best interests.
Appointing Temporary Guardianship
In cases where the custodial parent has a preference as to whom they wish to assign temporary guardianship over their minor child, Tennessee law permits that a transfer of guardianship agreement be signed by both parties, notarized by a state-designated notary and filed before the court. If, however, the court determines that the custodial parent is unable to make that decision on her own behalf, temporary guardianship must be appointed through court order to the next of kin or another individual deemed competent by the court.
Duties of Guardian
Temporary guardians are assigned a number of duties and responsibilities in accordance with Tennessee law. In addition to ensuring the minor child has adequate food, shelter and necessities, temporary guardians are required to make decisions in regard to the child's health care and education in compliance with the terms set forth in the guardianship order. Further, the guardian is required to file regular reports with the court detailing the child's welfare and document how any financial support received toward the care of the minor child is spent.
Limitations on Guardianship
Although assigned certain responsibilities as guardian, there are certain acts that are not permitted when acting as guardian of a minor child. Under Tennessee law, temporary guardians are not permitted to place the child for adoption or foster care with any individual or agency. Guardians must also remain in the jurisdiction of the court at all times and are not permitted to move out of state with the minor child without an order of written permission by the court.