Children and adults who are unable to make their own legal decisions need a guardian to make those decisions on their behalf. Adults who have guardians tend to have a mental disability or disorder that that leaves them incompetent.

This might be in the case of an elderly person with a degenerative brain disease, or maybe an adult with developmental disabilities. Under normal circumstances, a child’s parents are their guardians. When parental rights have been suspended or terminated, or if both parents die, children will be appointed a different guardian from their parents.

When a child is granted a guardian for a temporary period of time, such as until their parents can provide a stable environment for them, the legal relationship of a guardian to a child exists at the same time as the legal parental relationship. In order for a guardian to take over the parental rights of the child, they would have to file to adopt the child. Adoption severs the rights of the biological parent.

A Howard County, Maryland family law attorney can provide more information about guardianship.