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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Default Guardianship vs Custody

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: New York

    I want to know what the advantages/disadvantages of having custody of a 16 year old girl rather than guardianship? Currently my husband and I have temporary guardianship of an 11th grade girl. Her parents(divorced) signed guardianship papers last August and Mom has seen her three times since and Dad not at all. Child protective services is involved with neglect charges against both parents and more serious charges against Dad with issues going back years. CPS mentioned to me that I might want to consider taking more of a role specifically custody.

    What advantages or disadvantages does this pose? I am particularly interested in how this might affect financial aid for college. She is a very smart girl who will be going to college. If she has to claim our income she won't be eligible for much in aid.

    Are there other issues to consider? CPS are doing a home inspection here next week and have asked me to come to the parent's next court proceedings.

    Thank you for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Guardianship vs Custody

    What do you mean by "signed guardianship papers" and "taking more of a role specifically custody"? If you have informal guardianship - not through a court - then they may be proposing that you formalize your guardianship through the court. Or if you have temporary guardianship, they may be proposing that you seek permanent guardianship.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    4

    Default Re: Guardianship vs Custody

    We have temporary guardianship not through a court, just notarized papers from the parents. Child Protective Services suggested custody but I didn't know what that entails and if there are any advantages. I would be fine with permanent guardianship. I wanted to make sure I understood the benefits and the drawbacks to all possible choices before court. The parents are being called into court over ongoing neglect charges and I was subpoenaed as the child's person who has supervision.
    Thanks again for any help!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    25,717

    Default Re: Guardianship vs Custody

    What you have is revocable at the parents desire, anytime with no recourse by you. Guardianship, in itself does not infer physical custody of your ward. The fact that this is not a court acknowledged guardianship means you actually have very few rights. In many situations, you may not even be able to utilize the guardianship to assist your ward due to the fact whatever person you seek assistance from, may not accept your guardianship as being legally established.

    Seeking a court approved guardianship would be akin to legal custody of a child. It would give you legal rights to act as the childs guardian even if in contrast to what the parents believe should be done. If they wanted to contest your actions, they then would have to address the courts.

    Temp or permanent; that is just what it sounds like. Is the problem a temp one or do you believe the child will require a guardian until they are of age? Are you willing to be the guardian until then?

    Physical custody; if the courts granted you physical custody, the child would stay with you and would be under your control. It would remove many rights of the bio-parents. The parents would most likely have "visitation" ordered by the courts

    this type of situation is very similar to having the parents of a child divorce only you are one of the parents and the bio-parents are the other.
    as it stands now, either parent can come take their child with them anytime they want. You have neither physical custody (rights to have the child with you) or legal custody (rights to make legal, medical, whatever decisions without regard to anothers input).
    I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Guardianship vs Custody

    Thank you for the response, it is helpful. We do want guardianship of this girl until she is of age. I didn't worry about her parents taking physical custody of her before because they are after all her parents. Now I have come to learn things and realize she shouldn't be in her parent's custody. I will do what I need to for her but I am concerned about how anything I do affects financial aid for her for college. I just want to make sure that I don't jeopardize any aid she may get.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Guardianship vs Custody

    I went through the FAFSA website and discovered that if a child is under a legal guardian as deemed by the courts then they may file as an independent and their parent's income (and guardians) will not be considered.

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