What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a condition wherein a particular person has acquired some rights to take care of some other person. Usually this term is used when children are involved but may also be applicable in terms of taking responsibility and taking care of persons who are said to be mentally incapacitated. Those who gain legal authority over another person are called ‘guardians” and he/she may be appointed by some court or the child’s parents themselves.
Guardianship, although having legal rights, differs from legal adoption of a child for example. In the case of guardianship, the law still recognizes the rights of the biological parents of the child involved. Under the law, the guardian does not become the legal parent of the child but rather more of a custodian and a caregiver.
In its basic sense, guardianship means legal, physical, and financial custody of children. Most parents usually have and practice these rights. In a typical family setup, it is the parents who will make decisions on the child’s concerns at home, school, and even after graduation from university. It is only when the child involved reaches a “legal” age that he/she can make decisions on his/her own that are allowed under the eyes of the law. In some cases, guardianship rights or parents may be limited by a court for example. In cases wherein the court believes that the biological parents may not be able to protect the best interests of the child, guardianship may be offered to other individuals like relatives.
But limiting one’s own guardianship rights may be an option that could be taken by biological parents of a particular child. In the case of children that have some form of job while they are young, like commercial models and TV stars, parents may opt to seek other “guardians” to take care of money matters for example. Parents may appoint a trusted individual to handle the financial concerns of their child and in this way yield their own rights to this matter.