Guardianship Provisions for Children
Have you ever given thought as to who you would wish to look after your children if anything was to happen to you?
A vast majority of parents assume that if they passed away first, their children would automatically be cared for by the other biological parent and for most families, the other biological parent would be completely trusted to do so.
However, in a number of cases we have seen, the other biological parent may not be the best carer for a child or may not be present in a child’s life, however it is often wrongly assumed that children would have to be cared for by that parent if the other predeceased them.
We have represented step parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents in obtaining primary care for children where the biological parent is not the best care option for a child, and we are often asked how to go about trying to secure this.
If you are fit and healthy but want to ensure that if you passed away, your child would live with and be looked after by someone other than the other biological parent, then one of the steps you could take would be to make a will that provides guardianship provisions for your child. In your will, you would nominate who you wish to care for your child in the event anything was to happen to you.
Making a will would not stop the biological parent making a court application for your child to live with them if you did pass away first, but it would record your wishes and intentions and it would be a relevant consideration for the Court if a dispute was to arise.
Making a will with guardianship provisions also avoids the need for any discussion with the other biological parent as you can make your will in private and you do not need to discuss the content of your will with the other biological parent, although it would be advisable to speak to the person who you wish to nominate to be the legal guardian of your child, to ensure that they are happy and prepared to take on the responsibility.
If you are suffering with ill health and you are concerned about your child’s future, then mediation or a court application may be considered immediately in order to secure a decision about your child’s future and care. This would have an immediate effect as the court would make a decision as to who shall be the primary carer of your child after considering what is in the child’s best interests. Any issues that you had regarding the biological parent such as welfare or safeguarding concerns or their reliability or stability would be considered by the court and a final decision made, which would then offer you peace of mind and security as to their future.