The Rights & Responsibilities of a Temporary Guardian in Arkansas

By Brenna Davis

A temporary guardian is a person appointed by the court to play the legal role of a child's parent, when parents are unable to do so. A court may appoint a temporary guardian when a parent is incarcerated, temporarily too ill to care for the child or after a parent dies. In Arkansas, guardians have many of the same rights and responsibilities of parents. The guardian must relinquish the child to the parent at the end of the term of guardianship if the order of guardianship orders her to do so.

Guardianship Process

To become a child's temporary guardian, you must petition the family division of the circuit court in the county in which the child resides. If the child is currently in the custody of Child Protective Services, you should consult her caseworker before filing the guardianship petition. There is a strong presumption in favor of giving guardianship to family members or to adults with whom the child already has a close relationship.

Child's Well-Being

Child custody decisions are made according to the best interests of the child. If multiple people seek guardianship, the judge will weigh the best interests of the child and make a determination about who would be better suited to care for the child on a temporary basis. Potential guardians must demonstrate that they can provide the child with a suitable environment, that they have the financial means to care for the child and that they are emotionally stable. Guardians are expected to provide love and care to the child in much the same way a parent would. A guardian who emotionally abuses a child or otherwise mistreats the child can be charged with child abuse.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More

Decision-Making

Guardians have authority to make legal, medical and educational decisions for the child in the parent's absence. They can decide where the child attends school, which doctor the child uses and how to handle any legal proceedings involving the child. However, they must make these decisions based upon the best interests of the child. A guardian who consistently makes bad decisions -- for example, denying necessary medical care -- can be charged with abuse or neglect and have her guardianship revoked.

Financial Issues

Guardians must pay for the care necessary to keep the child healthy, including medical, housing and food expenses. Occasionally, a parent will be obligated to pay child support for the child. If the child was previously in CPS custody, the guardian may request to become the child's foster parent. This removes some decision-making authority but does grant the guardian a small stipend to help pay for the child's care. If child support or a foster care stipend do not cover the full cost of a child's expenses, the guardian must pay for these items out of her own pocket.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More
Do Guardianship Papers Overrule Custody?
 

References

Related articles

Difference Between a Guardian and Custody in Michigan

Custody laws primarily focus on the rights of parents while guardianship provides rights to family members or other adults who have taken responsibility for raising children. Although the rights given through guardianship may be similar to parents' custodial rights, the rights granted to a guardian vary from one case to the next. Michigan state law defines several types of guardianship arrangements that may fit a family’s needs and circumstances.

Can a Legal Guardianship Expire?

A guardianship is a legal mechanism by which one individual or entity is appointed by a court to make decisions on behalf of another person. The person in need of guardianship may be a minor whose parents are unwilling or unable to provide proper care for the child, or an adult incapacitated by illness or age. Unless otherwise stipulated by the court, a legal guardianship can expire or terminate; when and how depends on the type of guardianship.

How to Get Legal Guardianship of a Child While a Parent Is in Jail

When a parent is arrested, a child's life is quickly thrown into disarray. If no one volunteers to be the child's guardian, the child may be placed in foster care. In most states, there is a strong presumption in favor of placing a child with a relative, rather than putting the child in foster care. Legal guardians are responsible for fulfilling the same duties that parents fulfill, such as ensuring the child attends school and tending to the child's medical needs, so guardians should ensure they are prepared to take on these responsibilities.

Related articles

How to Prepare for a Temporary Custody Hearing

A temporary custody hearing occurs when one person seeks temporary custody of a child pending a final resolution of the ...

Difference in Guardianship and Custodian

Custody and guardianship are two types of legal arrangements under which an adult assumes legal authority over and ...

Does the Mother or the Father Have Legal Guardianship of an Adult Child?

When a child turns 18, she is an adult under the law and any previous guardianship or custody orders cease because ...

Legal Guardianship of an Abandoned Child

Working out the custody of a child can be a confusing and heartbreaking process, especially if parents are fighting ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED