In Colorado, Guardianship is the legal process by which a Court appoints a third party to care and provide for a minor child. It differs from adoption by not permanently terminating the parental relationship or parental rights and from custody in that the guardian is not one of the child’s parents.
With these cases comes a great amount of detail, both procedural and substantive in nature. Having an attorney who understands guardianship proceedings matters when it comes time to take the significant step of assuming the care of a child. With decades of legal experience on our team, the Denver family law attorneys at Plog & Stein can help you navigate your guardianship case.Understanding Colorado Guardianships
Who can become a Guardian?
C.R.S. 15-14-201 provides that any person who is 21 or older and has an interest in the welfare of the child, may be appointed to become a guardian by a will or the Court.When is a Guardian necessary?
Most commonly, it is going to be necessary to file for guardianship when you are a third party caring for a child that is not biologically yours. For example, perhaps you are a grandparent, aunt, uncle, older sibling, etc. This step is essential for having the authority to enroll the minor in school, take them to doctor appointments, provide health insurance coverage, etc. Ultimately, it gives you the legal right to be caring for the child. With guardianship, the child cannot be removed from your care without your consent or Court involvement.Conditions for Testamentary Appointment?
Pursuant to C.R.S. 15-14-202, a will or written instrument signed by a parent or existing guardian may appoint a guardian or successor guardian.
The appointment becomes effective upon the death of the appointing parent or guardian, or if they are found to be incapacitated, or a doctor has determined they are unable to care for the child.
Please be aware the appointment of a guardian by a parent does not supersede the parental rights of either parent.Conditions for Judicial Appointment?
Pursuant to C.R.S. 15-14-204, the Court must find that the guardianship to be in the best interests of the child and that either:
- The parents have consented;
- The parents’ parental rights have been terminated;
- The parents are unable or unwilling to exercise their parental rights; or
- A prior Guardian, who is now incapacitated or deceased, named a third party by a will or written instrument.
If the child is receiving income (for example, in the form of Social Security), possesses real estate, or other financial assets, you may need to file for a Conservatorship in conjunction with the Guardianship in order to have authorization to manage the child’s funds and assets.
Call us at (303) 781-0322 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.Requirements of Legal Guardians
Guardianship cases fall under the realm of “probate” law, which entails a different set of statutes and procedures from a custody/parental responsibilities case. The case is initiated by filling a Petition for Guardianship at the District Court level. The appointment as a guardian creates a fiduciary duty of care, support, and protection. Your responsibilities will include providing food, clothes, shelter, and access to education and health care for the child. You are ultimately being charged with making decisions that are in the best interests of the child.
Guardians must also file Annual Reports with the Court and provide copies to interested persons. Further, a minor who is the subject of a Guardianship, may NOT relocate out of the state of Colorado without a Court Order.Seek the Assistance of a Denver Guardianship Attorney!
At Plog & Stein, we understand that families come in all variations and sometimes circumstances arise where an aunt, uncle, grandparent, or sibling may need to step and care for a minor. Our firm is dedicated to your family’s success and ensuring that your legal goals are met. Let us put our experience to work for you.
For more information about how our firm can help you with your guardianship case, call our offices, today.