Cleveland Guardianship Lawyers
Establishing Guardianship in Cleveland
Guardianship cases can be confusing, particularly if you find yourself unexpectedly involved in one. Prospective guardians often have various questions, including: What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator? What will I need to do? How do I navigate my case?
At Laubacher & Co., our Cleveland guardianship attorneys will work closely with you to ensure you remain supported throughout your case and can navigate the guardianship process confidently.
How Does Guardianship Work in Ohio?
A guardian is appointed by a probate court to be legally responsible for someone else, known as a ward, or to be responsible for his or her property. Although a guardian of someone's property can also be a corporation or association, in general, only a person can be appointed a guardian of another person.
When someone petitions the court to select him/her as a guardian for an incompetent ward, this is called guardianship. This is an involuntary trust relationship. A voluntary guardianship is referred to as a conservatorship.
Why Would Someone Need Guardianship?
A minor without a living parent or who has been abandoned by his or her parents may need a guardian. An infirm adult due to age or a mental or physical disability may need a guardian to oversee his/her personal care and financial and legal affairs.
The court oversees a guardian to ensure he or she provides proper management and care of the ward's affairs. The guardian's powers are limited to that which is granted by state law, court precedent, rules, and orders. Different guardianships have different powers and duties.
What Does a Guardian Do?
A guardian of an individual has physical custody of his or her ward and must provide for and protect his or her ward. Some duties include the following:
- Providing day-to-day maintenance, such as shelter, food, clothing, and healthcare, paid from the ward's estate.
- Responsibility for a minor ward's education as the law requires.
- Making medical decisions and decisions about other professional services that the ward may need.
- If the ward is an adult with children, the guardian may also be responsible for those minor children's care.
What Is the Difference Between Adoption and Guardianship in Ohio?
If you are thinking about adopting a child or an adult, if you are considering guardianship of a loved one with unique family circumstances or special needs, or if you simply have questions about which option may be best for your situation, understanding the differences between adoption and guardianship will help you begin to make informed decisions.
Adoption and guardianship proceedings establish fundamentally different relationships, and each offers different benefits under different sets of circumstances. Some of the primary differences between adoptions and guardianships include:
Biological Parental Relationship
With guardianship, the ward’s relationship with his or her parents, whatever it may be, remains intact. The guardian does not take on the legal role of a parent, in contrast to a legal adopter. However, a guardian may petition the court for restrictions on the parents’ contact with the ward.
Timespan of Relationship
Under appropriate circumstances, a guardianship can be temporary (for example, if a minor needs to have a guardian appointed until he or she reaches age 18). However, adoption always establishes a permanent parent-child relationship.
Level of Obligation
With the adoption of a minor, the parents take on the responsibility to meet their adopted child’s financial needs. In contrast, while a guardian may be responsible for managing the ward’s finances, the guardian generally does not have an obligation to provide direct financial support for the ward.
If you wish to become a guardian for a loved one or need help navigating a guardianship, our Cleveland guardianship lawyers at Laubacher & Co. will provide you with the seasoned, compassionate legal counsel you deserve.