Family Lawyers Wichita, KS
Guardianship and Conservatorship
A mother and father are the natural guardians of a child. However, if the child’s biological parents have died, their parental rights have been severed, or they have been found to be unfit, the District Court is empowered to appoint a successor guardian to care for the child. In making a determination as to who should be appointed as guardian, the Court will give preference to the child’s relatives and ultimately make a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests.
While a guardian is entrusted to care for the child’s well-being, personal care, and education, a conservator may need to be appointed to care for the child’s property. A conservator is most needed if a child’s parents have died without creating a trust and the child has inherited property. The person appointed as conservator is often the same person that is appointed as guardian. Complicated guardianship and conservatorship proceedings can often be avoided by implementing an estate plan.
Child in Need of Care
The Revised Kansas Code for the Care of Children was enacted by the Kansas Legislature as a means to protect the safety and welfare of children. Although parents are always presumed to act in their child’s best interests, the Code was designed to protect children who are not adequately cared for by absent, neglectful or abusive parents. If a parent is not properly caring for his or her child, a Petition can be filed in the District Court alleging that such child is a “child in need of care.” Although the Petition is usually filed by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), a private case may also be filed by any interested party, usually a family member. After the Petition is filed, the Court must determine if the child is in fact a child in need of care.
If the Court determines that a child is a child in need of care by clear and convincing evidence, then the Court has several options at its disposal to protect the child, including returning the child to the parents with conditions; placing the child in a relative’s home; or placing the child with a shelter facility. The Court also has the power to terminate parental rights if it is found by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit to properly care for the child and the parent’s conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. A child in need of care proceeding has the potential to seriously and permanently impact all of the parties involved. Our family law Wichita attorneys have experience in both representing interested family members who are concerned for a child’s safety, and parents who wish to protect their parental rights.
Contact Our Office
For more information on family law, please contact the guardianship attorneys of Wagle & Turley. Our family law attorneys have years of experience in successful litigation in this case type. Please contact our office today for a consultation. Our Wichita guardianship attorneys are dedicated to the best interests of every client.