Minor Guardianship vs. Custody of Minor: What are the Differences and Similarities?

Mon, Jun 27, 2011

Guardianship, Probate

Florida guardianship lawyerWhen trying to figure out which proceeding is where, it is important to distinguish between the two. In the case of minor guardianship versus the custody of a minor, they sound pretty similar. But these two types of custody arrangements are actually handled in two different court departments and have different laws governing them. Guardianship is a matter handled by the probate department in most states. Custody of a minor is handled by family court.

A Florida Probate Lawyer is someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of probate courts and the laws governing the handling of guardianships. A guardianship is in place when a minor’s parents are unable to care for them, whether financially unable to care for the child’s needs or physically, due to being deceased. In either case, the courts have the power to place the child with other family members or within the system as a foster child. If an approved will is on file with the probate department, then the courts will abide by the wishes stated within it.

If there is no will and there are friends or family members who are willing and able to care for the minor, they may petition the court in order to become the child’s guardian, or caregiver. This can be a relatively simple matter if it is uncontested by other family members, or it can become a drawn out battle in court which may involve mediation and a Florida Guardianship Lawyer.

Custody of a minor is covered by family law and handled in a family court. With custody cases, a Florida probate lawyer is not needed but a family law lawyer is. Custody of a minor is often a dispute between one or both parents as to their ability to provide for the child more than the other.  This is when most people hear “mommy state” or “daddy state”. It is true that some cases may seem to favor one parent over the other because the state may feel that one parent has the natural instincts needed to provide for the child better. But when it comes down to it, each parent has to prove in court whether they are able to mentally, physically and financially provide for the child. The history of each parent may be called into question by each side and may have some bearing on the judge’s decision because it may be a matter of  “if they did it before would they do that again?”.

As you can see, there are a few main differences between the guardianship of a minor and the custody of a minor. Any Florida guardianship lawyer or family law attorney can tell you that they also have their similarities, including making sure the rights of the minor are taken into account as well as making sure that the minor is taken care of in their best interest. This is done to assure that the minor child is able to grow up in a stable and loving environment, allowing them to become well-adjusted members of society as an adult.

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