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When a birth parent cannot have physical custody of a child, a court order may grant permanent guardianship to another person. A guardian is legally empowered as a surrogate decision-maker and is required to provide a safe living environment, education, health care, and other daily necessities. An appointed guardian may be a family member or other adult that the court has approved. A judge orders a permanent guardian if it is determined that reunification with the birth parents or adoption is not possible or if it is in the child’s best interests.

Unlike adoption, permanent guardianship limits but does not terminate the parental rights of the birth parents. The child has the right of inheritance from the birth parents, and the court may order the birth parents to provide financial and other support for the child. They may have visitation rights and the right to consent or refuse the child’s adoption. The guardian and the birth parent’s rights and responsibilities are determined by the specific terms of the court order.

When Establishing a Guardian for a Child, the Court Investigates the Following:

  • The relationship between the prospective guardian and the child
  • The financial status and moral character of the guardian and their commitment to providing for the child
  • The mental and physical soundness of the potential guardian
  • Criminal records of a potential guardian which may prohibit their appointment
  • The ability to provide a safe and permanent home for the child

A permanent guardianship remains in effect until a child turns eighteen, the minor becomes emancipated, or the court terminates the guardianship. The need for a permanent guardian may be due to the death or incapacity of the parents, or the parents may be unfit to provide a stable home environment.

Florida Statutes require that a minor be appointed a guardian of property when they receive a settlement that exceeds $15,000 due to a personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death claim. This type of guardian is responsible for handling financial assets only. The person appointed can be a parent, family member, or another person interested in the child’s welfare.

Contested Guardianships

Guardianship proceedings can become contentious when there are competing guardianship applications or if the parents oppose the petition. Established guardianships may require court intervention based on allegations of abuse or neglect of a child. Or, it may be discovered that deceased parents that chose a guardian for their children before their demise may not have made the best choice. Conflicts can arise whenever there are serious concerns for a child’s welfare.

Trusted Family Attorneys Ready to Listen

The Myers Law Group, P.A. has nearly two decades of experience in family law and guardianship cases. Our attorneys craft compelling cases to present to a judge on behalf of the client and the child. We know these are sensitive matters, and we want our clients to make informed, compassionate decisions for the child in need. We assist our clients with understanding guardianship laws, their legal rights, and options. Our law firm has helped many persons obtain court approval to be legally responsible for another.

Contact the Myers Law Group, P.A. at 386-873-7835 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys at our DeLand, Florida office. We represent clients in Volusia, Seminole, and Orange Counties, Florida. Let us advise you of your legal options and represent your interests.


Myers Law Group


211 East Rich Avenue

DeLand, FL 32724

Monday – Thursday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Friday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Phone: (386) 873-7835

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