Our children are some of our most treasured aspects of our lives. We would do almost anything to both protect them and do what is best for them. However, life is full of unexpected twists and turns. We never know what it will throw our way. There may be certain reasons as to why a parent can no longer care for a child. Whether it is due to a parent’s serious illness, death, or any other reason, it may be in the best interest of a child to be under the care of another person or a guardian. If you have questions about a guardianship in Tennessee, feel free to give The Higgins Firm a call.

What Is a Guardianship?

A guardianship is the proceeding in which a court appoints a guardian to provide either partial or full supervision, protection and assistance to a child or the property of a child or both. Guardianships are applicable to children under the age of 18 who may need the care of another person.

When Is a Guardian Needed?

Unfortunately a parent may not be able to provide the care that a child needs. Whether it is a parent who is gravely ill or even a parent who has passed away, an individual may no longer be able to provide care that a child needs. Another situation where a guardian may be needed is when a parent has been incarcerated. Also, a parent who is mentally or physically no longer able to care for a child may be a situation where a guardian should be appointed.

Priority of Persons to be Considered for Guardian

When appointing a guardian, there are certain individuals that the court will look to first. The court will look to the best interests of the child before determining a guardian. The court will always first look to the parent or parents of a minor. However, if a parent or the parents are unable to act as guardian, the court will look elsewhere. The court will then look to a person designated by the parent or parents in a will or other written document. If no one has been designated in a will or other document, the court will look to the adult siblings of a minor. The court would then look to the closest relative of the child. If the court cannot find a suitable guardian in the best interests of the child, it will look to other persons which may include close friends.

Guardian’s Authority

If the court determines that a guardian is needed, the court will determine the authority that is needed to properly care for a child. A court can allocate authority as to the ability to make decisions regarding a child’s health care, schooling, or any other parenting responsibilities. The court can restrict the authority to care for a child as to only certain areas. The court may determine that a guardian is needed to solely manage the property of a minor. The court will then direct what the guardian can and cannot do as to the child’s property.

Contact The Higgins Firm with your Guardianship Needs

If you need help or have questions regarding a guardianship, be sure to contact the Tennessee guardianship attorneys at The Higgins Firm. Our Nashville based lawyers would be happy to answer any questions that you may have about guardianships in Tennessee.