Regardless of your martial status, naming a guardian for your children is one of the most important issues in planning your estate. For those who have gone through a divorce, the assumption is, that the other parent of the children will step up and look after the kids, should anything happen to you.
While this assumption holds true in a majority of cases where the parent with full custody passes on or is incapacitated, there are several situations that demand the naming of a guardian for the children you have.
There are a number of things that courts consider as they go about the process of deciding the person who will get custody of the children.
- The first consideration will be who the children want to live with. Even though these children are minors, the courts must take into account their preference as this will normally be influenced by their familiarity and closeness to that particular person.
- Another important consideration that the courts look at, is the person most capable of properly providing for the children. This is meant to ensure that the children do not endure unnecessary hardship while there is someone who is capable of comfortably providing for their needs.
- Stability is also a big concern for the courts, since they will be looking to have the children live with a well rounded person and in a reasonably stable environment. Stability also translates to predictability and this helps the court anticipate the quality of care a person is able to provide for he children.
- The relationship that exists between the children and the proposed guardian, is also considered when going through the process of naming a guardian. It is not fair to put the children in a position where they need to begin building new relationships with strangers, while there are people close to them who are willing and capable of taking up the responsibility of guardianship.
- The courts will also have to consider the choice of the parents when naming a guardian for the children. Since the parents have the best interests of their children at heart, they will, in most cases, suggest a reliable and responsible person as guardian to their children.
There are a number of situations that can result in having to name a guardian for your children. Some of these situations include cases where both parents pass away while the children are still minors, where one parent passes away and the other is incapacitated due to illness or injury, where both parents are incapacitated or where parents are incarcerated and happen to be unfit to look after children.
Though declaring the other parent as unfit to look after the children can be difficult, it does sometimes happen, and in such cases, the courts will consider your in put when naming another person as a guardian to the children. Above all else, naming a guardian provides peace of mind, as you are ensured that your children will be properly looked after, even when you and the other parent, are no longer able to do so.