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Guardianship is a significant responsibility

Taking on legal guardianship for a child in need is a wonderful act of love and service, and it is also an enormous responsibility. Before you sign on the dotted line and become a child's legal guardian, be sure that you have carefully considered all the implications of this duty so that you can properly prepare yourself to fully rise to the occasion.

In broad terms, when you become a child's legal guardian, you assume the same responsibilities the child's parent would carry. Of course, in many cases, the parents are still figures in the child's life, so you may have to contend with them over a number of issues.

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Acting as a guardian often requires handling a number of court dates and maintaining proper records for the child. If you take on this responsibility, you must make room in your life to handle a number of legal issues that might arise.

This is especially true if the child struggles with behavioral issues. Not only should you be prepared to properly provide care for the child and any help that he or she needs to address behavioral difficulties, you may face legal consequences for the child's actions in some cases.

You must also consider whether or not you have both the time, resources and commitment to remain as the child's guardian as long as he or she needs you to be. Depending on the age of the child and his or her mental capacity, this could be a decades-long commitment.

If you believe that you are the right person for the job, or if you simply understand that you are the only one who can serve that need in the child's life, your sacrifice is admirable. An experienced attorney can examine all the details of this particular situation and ensure that you are properly prepared to fully provide for the child you love.

Source: Findlaw, "How to Establish Guardianship of a Child FAQs," accessed June 30, 2017

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