Applying for Temporary Guardianship for Your Child

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Temporary guardianship refers to formally turning over the care of your children to another adult for a specific period of time. For example, temporary guardianship is good to establish if you plan to be out of town on business for an extended amount of time or if you might be incapacitated while you recuperate from a medical procedure.

Establishing temporary guardianship allows a child to live with another person other than the parents and, in the event of an emergency, that responsible adult can make important medical decisions on behalf of that child. Also, the guardian would be responsible for making decisions and handling situations with the child's school.

States have different instructions, forms, and requirements. If you want to establish temporary guardianship for your child, you will need to find out your state's specific requirements and find out if your local government has a specific form you will need to fill out.

Do You Need to Establish Temporary Guardianship?

The first thing you need to determine is whether you need to establish temporary guardianship. If you share custody with your child's other parent, then setting up temporary guardianship with another adult might not be necessary. Usually, the other parent would most likely be the person caring for your children in your absence.

If you are a widow or have sole custody, then you might want to establish a temporary legal guardianship in the event you will not be available to readily handle, care for, or make decisions concerning your child.

How to Select a Temporary Guardian

A temporary guardian will be a parent surrogate. You will want to select someone you trust completely and with whom your children are comfortable. This will likely be a person your children have already spent considerable time with. This person may very well be another parent whose children are near to your children's ages.

Selected Someone? Now Ask Them

Once you have gone through all the options, develop a list of those who you would consider for the role of temporary guardian. It is a tall order, so do not be surprised if your first choice turns you down. You will need to explain to the potential temporary guardian what temporary custody means—including the decisions that person should be prepared to make in your absence and your wishes.

Discuss the Arrangement

You will need to determine the length of time this temporary arrangement should cover. If you will out of town on business and somewhat reachable, you should discuss to what level you are rescinding control over decisions.

You should have an understanding regarding sleeping arrangements, travel, and other conditions you both may have. You will need to inform the temporary guardian of any medical concerns, including allergies. You will need to agree on the administration of over-the-counter medications, and depending on the duration of the temporary guardianship, you might need to notify your child's school and physician about emergency contact information.

Complete the Temporary Guardianship Form

In most states, you will need to fill out a temporary guardianship agreement form and have it notarized. You may or may not need to file it with your city, county, or state. It depends on your state's regulations. You may only need to fill it out and keep a notarized copy on hand.

By having the form notarized, it verifies that it is indeed your signature on the form, and ensures that your child's caregiver would be able to secure prompt medical treatment or make other important decisions in your absence.