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In Kansas, parents have the legal right to decide what suits their children. However, sometimes circumstances within families get complicated. There are situations where it may be necessary for another person or family member to step in, becoming responsible for making decisions in the child’s best interest. That person can become the child’s legal guardian. Yet, applying for guardianship in Kansas can be overwhelming and challenging.
At Colgan Law Firm, LLC, our family law attorneys are committed to helping Kansas children get the love and care they deserve. We are also committed to helping family members understand the complicated laws that govern Kansas guardianship. Guardianship in Kansas: who is it for and what does it mean?
Who Is Guardianship for in Kansas?
A guardian or conservator is a person appointed by a Kansas court to act on behalf of a child or an impaired individual. That person is called a ward. The guardian is legally responsible for managing a ward’s health, safety, and physical welfare. A conservator is responsible for the ward’s financial well-being through upholding duties assigned by the court. The guardian and conservator can be the same person. In most cases, parents have the right to manage a child’s physical and emotional well-being. However, death, neglect, and custody disputes may make it necessary for the courts to step in and appoint a legal guardian.
Guardianship is for any minor or impaired individual who needs legal protection from harm or imminent danger. Guardianship may be needed when a parent dies or abandons a child or if a child is not getting proper care because of impairment, lack of resources, or involvement in criminal activities. Furthermore, there are times when a guardianship or conservatorship must be created for an impaired child who reaches the age of majority, or when a previously healthy adult is no longer able to make their own financial decisions or manage their own assets. We will explore these scenarios further in our December blog.
What Does Guardianship Do?
Court-appointed guardianship gives an individual the legal right to make crucial decisions on behalf of a child or impaired individual. A guardian becomes the person responsible for ensuring that a child’s physical and emotional needs are being met. They advocate for the child and exercise authority when decisions are needed. They also help support the child’s or impaired individual’s developmental and psychological well-being.
A court-appointed guardian may also manage the finances and estate of the minor or impaired individual, acting in good faith on behalf of the child, or the court may appoint a separate conservator.
Who Can Be a Guardian?
Extended family members are often good choices for guardians. Kansas courts can appoint grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives as guardians for a child or impaired individual. However, there are situations where the family cannot act as a guardian or existing family members wish to avoid taking on the immense responsibility of being a guardian.
The Kansas Guardianship Program partners with the State of Kansas to locate and recruit volunteers willing to advocate for children and impaired individuals in need. Volunteers can be accepted into the program and eventually be appointed to advocate for those needing a guardian. However, all volunteers must submit to a rigorous screening process, training program, and numerous assessments before becoming cleared to advocate for a child or impaired individual.
When Does Guardianship End?
Guardianship does not end automatically in Kansas. However, the court can end guardianship for several reasons, including when a guardianship relationship is no longer needed or ceases to exist. The most common example of the court ending a guardianship arrangement occurs when a minor turns 18. A court can also end guardianship when an individual is no longer impaired and can manage their affairs.
Contact a Guardianship Attorney in Kansas City Today
Navigating Kansas’s complicated guardianship laws can be daunting. You can help a child or impaired individual by consulting with an experienced Kansas City guardianship attorney as soon as possible. At Colgan Law Firm LLC, we aggressively advocate for you and your loved ones. Let us walk you through the Kansas guardianship program. Contact our office today at 913-721-6067 to set up a legal consultation to discuss your case.