Michael Doolittle P.C.
Michael Doolittle P.C.
  • 2312 North Cole Road
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    Boise, ID 83704
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    (208) 701-6644

Guardianship Over A Child Or Adult, And When It Is Generally Put In Place

Guardianship Over A Child Or AdultA guardianship in respect to a child is essentially a third party who is not a parent assuming a parental role and the parental responsibilities. It must be done by a court order, and the grounds for the issuance of the guardianship for a child is that there has been abuse, abandonment, or neglect by the parents, or that a parent is unable to provide a reasonably safe and stable home environment for the child. Regarding an adult, there’s a couple of different types of guardianships that you get into. You have the guardianship of developmentally disabled people where parents seek to be guardians when the developmentally disabled person reaches majority at the age of 18 in Idaho, because they’re not able to live on their own, perform the activities of daily living by themselves, may not be able to be employed at a self-supporting rate, and so people will want to continue to help their children. They seek guardianship of their children as they get toward 18 so that they can continue to perform the same services and functions for their children after the children become adults.

The state is involved in these kinds of guardianships because the idea of adult guardianships is that they should be as least restrictive of the disabled person’s decision making as possible, and allow the person who is protected by the guardianship to have as much decision-making authority and self-determination as is possible given their particular situations. So, you file a petition with the court in those circumstances, you must also file a proposed care plan with the court which outlines what the role of the guardian is going to be in terms of providing living assistance, food, clothing, shelter, and decision-making because when they get to be adults, they’re often the recipients of disability benefits from the federal government.

A plan is formed based upon an investigation of the capabilities of that person, and often, these are developmentally disabled adults have been in IEPs at school, and they’ve been evaluated through the years to determine what their placement ought to be. That information is used to develop what the needs of the person are as they enter adulthood, what kinds of assistance are they going to need, and put together a plan that outlines all of those things and who will address each point. After the Petition for Guardianship and the Guardianship Care Plan and supporting material are submitted to the court, the court will appoint a review committee, which is through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare consisting of a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a social worker who review the care plan, review the documentation concerning the person’s developmental stage, functional capacity and needs, and then they meet with the developmentally disabled person and the proposed guardian to evaluate the ward and determine how appropriate the proposed guardianship care plan is, or suggest changes to that care plan.

Regarding adult guardianships, those are typically initiated by family members, although not necessarily so, and they involve folks who maybe have dementia or Alzheimer’s. They also might have a longstanding addiction issue that they’ve gotten to the point where they can’t take care of themselves, and people will intervene on their behalf to try to provide what they need to survive in life, or some sort of catastrophic accident or illness which makes it difficult or impossible for them to care for themselves. The proposed guardians are typically family members, but again sometimes they’re not. Still, you need to be able to prove that the person isn’t able to take care of themselves, and that they have some sort of a mental health problem, physical problem, disability or condition which severely impacts their ability to make decisions and care for themselves. Again, the idea is to make the guardianship the least restrictive possible to give that person in their existing condition as much autonomy as possible.

So those types of guardianships must be individually tailored depending upon the circumstances of the person that you’re seeking the guardianship of. You file a petition, you serve all the interested persons, and the court does what evaluation process needs to be done. If there’s a disagreement on whether there needs to be a guardianship or it’s contested, you have a trial, and you must prove the need for a guardianship and that these are the appropriate folks to be granted guardianship. Additionally, in the case of adults or mentally disabled folks, you need to show that an proposed guardianship care plan is appropriate for disabled person’s situation.

For more information on Family Law In Idaho, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (208) 701-6644 today.

Michael Doolittle P.C.

Call For A Consultation
(208) 701-6644

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