Temporary Guardianship

by Melanie Webre

There are situations in which parents become unable to care for their children. It could be due to injury or illness, the result of an addiction, or allegations of abuse. Placing the child into the care of another responsible adult is often the best way to ensure the child is protected and cared for. When done on a voluntary basis, establishing a temporary guardianship is less complicated than seeking permanent child custody, and it allows all parties to work at eventually reuniting the parent and the child.

Voluntary Temporary Guardianship vs. Custody

A temporary guardianship is only granted when the child is living with a person other than a parent. It is initiated by filing a formal petition with the Georgia Probate Court, providing the names and addresses of all parties involved, the reasons the guardianship is being sought, and noting whether each of the parents have consented to the action. If a parent refuses to temporarily relinquish parental rights, the petition will be dismissed, unless the objecting parent does not currently have custody rights.

Under Title 29 of the Georgia Code, parents still have the obligation to financially support their children during a temporary guardianship. Parents also have the right to dissolve the guardianship by providing legal notice to the guardian through the court. Otherwise, a temporary guardianship ends when any of the following occurs:

  • The child in question turns 18;
  • The child is adopted or legally emancipated;
  • On the death of either the child or the guardian;
  • A permanent guardianship or legal custody agreement is established;
  • The court terminates the temporary guardianship agreement.

Duties of a Temporary Guardian

Those entitled to seek temporary guardianship over a minor include grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other blood relatives, as well as non-relatives with close ties to the parents. A key factor would be the fact that the child is already in this person’s custody. Under O.C.G.A. Section 29-2-21, duties of a temporary guardian include the following:

  • Respect both the rights and the dignity of the minor child;
  • Provide for the child’s care, education, health and safety;
  • Use any money supplied by the parents to provide for and support the child;
  • Conserve any excess money provided for the child’s future needs;
  • Take reasonable care of the child’s personal effects and belongings;
  • Request a conservator for the child’s assets, as needed;
  • Provide periodic status reports regarding the child’s status and overall progress;
  • Keep the court up to date on contact information, including any changes in address.

Let Us Assist You Today

Family law matters are some of the most contentious dealt with in the Georgia courts, particularly when children are involved. If you have questions or concerns about temporary guardianship, contact Stearns‑Montgomery & Proctor to get the legal answers you need. With offices in Alpharetta, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Fayetteville, Johns Creek and Marietta, we provide the professional representation you need to ensure your rights are protected. Call or contact us online today and request a consultation to discuss your case.