Permanent guardianship creates a legal connection between one party and another. Under permanent guardianship in Wisconsin, the guardian is responsible for providing everything a natural guardian would be responsible for providing, such as food, a safe living environment, health care and education. The guardian becomes responsible for making important decisions in his or her ward’s life.
The two main types of permanent guardianship apply to children under the age of 18 and incompetent adults.
Permanent Guardianship of Children
Minor guardianship is typically an option when natural parents can’t – or won’t – care for a child. This type of guardianship can help keep children out of foster care or to keep a family intact when a parent is facing termination of his or her parental rights. Sometimes grandparents, aunts and uncles, and siblings apply for permanent guardianship. However, a person doesn’t have to be a blood relative to ask the court to grant them permanent guardianship of a child.
Guardianship of Incompetent Adults
Guardianship of incompetent adults is designed to protect people over the age of 17 years and 9 months who can’t care for themselves. Generally, it’s an option when a person has a developmental disability, serious and persistent mental illness, a degenerative brain disorder or another incapacity. It’s only appropriate if the adult in question has an incapacity that will result in a substantial, long-term disability – and even then, only if living without a guardian will create a serious risk of personal or financial harm to him- or herself.
Responsibilities of a Permanent Guardian
A permanent guardian has the authority to make decisions for his or her ward. Sometimes those decisions are limited to specific areas (such as education or healthcare), but in other cases, judges grant a guardian complete control over decisions related to the ward. Guardians usually have the ability to give consent on their ward’s behalf, as well as the responsibility to advocate for their ward’s rights.
Do You Need Legal Advice on Permanent Guardianship?
If you need information and legal advice on permanent guardianship, either of a child or an incompetent adult, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to learn more.