Don't Overlook These Legal Requirements When Choosing a Guardian


Have you and your spouse finally nailed down who would be the best guardian for your child in the event something happened to both of you? Perhaps, instead, you're in the midsts of developing a comprehensive pro and con list to help with the tough decision? Or are you just getting started?

Selecting a guardian can feel just about as challenging as playing a German board game 3-hours past your bedtime. It's no wonder that many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and a tremendous amount of energy making sure we're not making a mistake. Whether you've made the choice or are just getting started weighing your options, take time now to verify that the person you have in mind to serve as guardian actually meets the legal requirements.

To qualify as a legal guardian in Florida, a candidate who is a resident of the state must be over the age of 18. He or she must be capable off carrying out the duties of a guardian. He or she must also not have any felony convictions. There is no requirement that he or she be related to the child.

Additionally, if the candidate is not a resident of the state, he or she must meet all the above-stated requirements as well to be a relative. More specifically, the candidate must be a lineal relative of the child (for example a grandparent), or a close relative, through blood or adoption, such as a brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew. Alternatively, the candidate must be a spouse of a person who is qualified as a lineal relative to serve as a guardian.

Push pause on whatever you're doing and spend a moment confirming that the person you'd like to raise your child is eligible to serve as guardian. It will help ensure that your child is cared for by someone of your choosing, and not the court's.

If you could still use a bit of guidance when it comes to naming a guardian for your child or want to chat about other legal issues, email us.

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Ruth is the founder of Jackson Lee | PA, a consumer law firm recognized for slaying the toughest legal issues. In addition to being an attorney and wife of one, she's a mom to four future world-changers. Drop Ruth a line at ruth@jacksonleepa.com.