When a custodial parent becomes ill, is required to travel extensively or is otherwise unable to care for his minor child for a period of time, 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 parents as primary caretakers of their children. When one parent becomes incapacitated or is otherwise unable to care for her child, the right of the remaining parent to care for the child is typically automatic. If parents are separated or divorced and the custodial parent is unable to care for the child for some reason, Tennessee law requires that the non-custodial parent file for temporary guardianship in order to regain the right to make decisions on the child's behalf. 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 he wishes to assign temporary guardianship, Tennessee law permits that a transfer of guardianship agreement can be signed by both parties. It must notarized by a state-designated notary and filed with the court. If the court determines that the custodial parent is unable to make that decision on his 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 the Guardian
Temporary guardians are assigned a number of duties and responsibilities in accordance with Tennessee law. In addition to ensuring that the minor child has adequate food, shelter and necessities, temporary guardians are required to make decisions with regard to the child's health care and education in compliance with the terms set forth in the guardianship order. The guardian is required to file regular reports with the court detailing the child's welfare and to document how any financial support received toward the care of the minor child is spent.
Limitations on Guardianship
Guardians are prohibited from taking certain actions under Tennessee law. They're not permitted to place the child for adoption or into 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.