As the parent of a minor with special needs, you have been able to protect them. However, after their 18th birthday, you will no longer automatically have that ability. If you do not take legal steps to preserve it, the law will assume your child can take care of themself. That could leave them vulnerable to other people wishing to take advantage of them.
You need to seek guardianship through a court
If you wish to keep guardianship of your child once they become an adult, you need to show a court that this is necessary. You will need to show there is no suitable alternative.
- You need to petition the court for guardianship: You must give a copy of the petition to your child. It must be written in large letters and use simple language to give them a chance of understanding it and object if they wish.
- You need to show that your child is incapacitated:This means they cannot take in or evaluate information or communicate decisions effectively to the extent that they cannot manage their finances or look after their own physical health and safety. It will require an independent expert to evaluate your child.
There are various reasons you may wish to retain guardianship. These include medical ones such as discussing your child’s condition with doctors and making health care decisions for them. There are also financial and legal ones, such as helping them control their finances and signing documents on their behalf.
There are various levels and types of guardianship. A court typically awards the lowest level of guardianship it considers appropriate. Feel free to contact us to find out more about retaining guardianship of your special needs child once they turn 18 years old.
To learn more, visit our Guardianship page.
To speak with a family law attorney, use our Fast Pass link to schedule a consultation and be contacted within one business day.