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Can a Child Have Two Legal Guardians?

When a child has more than one legal guardian, this arrangement is called a co-guardianship. Co-guardians are people who may equally share roles in a child’s life, but they can also serve roles in a child’s life that don’t overlap.

For example, one guardian may be in charge of the child’s day-to-day care and has the authority to make important decisions regarding housing, medical care, schooling, and extracurricular activities. The court might also appoint a second guardian to manage property left to the child until they turn 18.

In other arrangements, two guardians can each have a 50% say in the management of a child’s life and financial affairs. This might occur when both parties in a married couple each want to be named as a child’s co-guardian (or if the child’s parent desires such an arrangement).

What Is a Legal Guardian?

Taking a step back, we should discuss who a legal guardian is and what their responsibilities can entail. Some of this you may already know or could surmise from the answer above, but it doesn’t hurt to go back to the basics.

A legal guardian is an adult appointed by a court to serve as the guardian of a minor child, or in some cases, an incapacitated adult. When it comes to children, legal guardians are appointed when a child’s parents (biological or adoptive) are unable to provide care.

A few reasons why this might occur include the parent’s death, incapacitation, or incarceration. Legal guardians can also be appointed in any situation where a judge deems it appropriate to remove children from the custody of their parents.

Does a Legal Guardian Have to Be a Relative?

Although relatives of children often volunteer to be legal guardians or are appointed by parents, there is no requirement that a child must be related to their guardian. That also means there is no guarantee a judge will appoint a relative as a guardian.

If a friend of the family is selected by the child’s parents or wishes to become a child’s legal guardian, a judge can appoint this person accordingly if they deem it’s in the child’s best interests.

Types of Guardianship in Oklahoma

We already mentioned some of the specific roles a legal guardian might have in a child’s life. These roles might be assigned according to the type of guardianship a guardian has over a child. In Oklahoma, there are three such types: General, Limited, and Special.

General Guardianship

When someone has general guardianship of a child, they usually have the complete authority to make any decision on the child’s behalf, although it may be limited according to the situation. These decisions include any of those we previously mentioned: medical care, schooling, housing, management of financial affairs, etc.

Limited Guardianship

Limited guardianship refers to a partial control over a child’s life as their guardian. We mentioned before how different guardianship roles can be split between two people. Such an arrangement might entail limited guardianships for each guardian to avoid overlapping their roles.

Special Guardianship

Finally, special guardianships are arrangements made under unique circumstances when the need for guardianship is expected to last a short while (typically less than two weeks). These typically occur because of emergencies.

Do You Need Assistance with a Guardianship Matter?

If you are involved in a legal matter concerning guardianship, our attorney at Bundren Law Firm can help. With our team’s many years of experience, we can offer the legal representation you need to work toward a resolution to disputes or open-ended questions.

To learn more about how we can help, request a consultation. Get started by contacting us online now.

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