While there are many factors to explore when chosing a guardian, I advise my clients to consider the following:
- Values and Morals: Does the potential guardian have the same sense of right and wrong that you do? Will that person be able to teach your child those values?
- Parenting Style: How does the potential guardian handle discipline? Will they be “hands on” and play an active role in your child’s daily life? Will the guardian support your child’s extracurricular interests (sports, music, other after school activities)?
- Religion: Does the potential guardian share your religious beliefs, and if not, will they at least support your child’s religious education and upbringing?
- Education: Will the potential guardian be committed to supporting your child’s education? Do they believe that education – including a college education – is important?
- Financial Stability: Does the potential guardian have the resources to take on the added responsibility of raising your child? Do they have a stable job and a secure income?
- Relationship: Your child may feel more secure if the guardian is someone he/she already has a relationship with. Family members and close friends are often chosen for this reason.
- Location: Does the potential guardian live in the area where your child grew up? Will your child need to move to a new city? These factors will probably be more significant the older and more established your child is, though moving to a new location may be difficult for your child regardless of his/her age.
- Health and Age: Your potential guardian must be healthy enough to raise your child. Age is also a factor you should consider, especially if you have young children. This factor is often a concern if grandparents are considered as potential guardians.
I suggest clients rank these factors in order of importance and then choose a guardian (and a backup guardian) that most closely matches the items they find most important. After you’ve selected a guardian for your child, you need to talk to the person you have chosen to make sure he/she is willing and able to assume that responsibility. Now that you have chosen a guardian and a backup guardian for your child, you need a valid will or trust to implement your decision. To learn more about wills and trusts, visit Toburen Law for more information.