How to Give Temporary Guardianship of Your Child

By Legal Editor

Guardianship is usually a permanent situation, as when a parent dies, but you can request only temporary guardianship because of your situation. Give guardianship of your child to another only when you have no other choice.

Understand that most states have a mechanism by which you can ask a court to give temporary guardianship (which is like custody) of your child to someone else for a specific time or for a specific reason.

Know that the most common reasons to do this would be if you are very ill and will spend a significant amount of time away for medical care, if you must travel far away for your job for an extended amount of time or if you are suffering from a disability and need assistance.

Realize that guardianship will give the other adult the right to make all decisions for your child, although the court may monitor some of them.

Do not consider this is if the other parent is available to care for the child. If you have a family member who can help you, you should also consider this first. However, your child's school may require guardianship papers if you ask a relative for extended help.

Apply for a temporary guardianship through your local family or surrogate court. If you do not know which court to go to, call one and ask them where to do this. The court personnel can assist you in completing the paperwork, but cannot give you legal advice. The judge will have the final say as to whether or not guardianship will be given.

Consider talking to an attorney before taking any action. This could affect your parental rights in the future.

Seek other alternatives before filing for temporary guardianship.