What Is Guardianship?

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal relationship the court establishes giving the guardian authority and a duty to care for another person, who is called “the protected person.” Guardianships can also be created to care for a property.  There may be alternatives to creating a guardianship, depending on your situation. These include powers of attorney, living will or trust, and health care surrogacy.

When a guardianship is created by the court, it removes only the rights the protected person is incapable of handling. These rights can include consent to medical treatment, end-of-life decisions, voting, and marriage. Establishing guardianship requires due process of law to protect the rights of the protected person. We strongly recommend the services of an experienced Cedar Rapids guardianship attorney. They can help navigate the complex legal system and protect your rights. If you have pressing questions, reach out to Arenson Law Group, PC today. We can help.

guardianship books

When Is a Guardian Appointed?

Under normal circumstances, parents have the right to decide for their children and adults have the right to make decisions for themselves. However, in some circumstances, this may not be possible. When someone needs to step in to care for a child or an adult, the court may appoint a guardian.

For example, a guardian may be appointed over a child’s estate if the child inherits assets. This can protect the assets until the child reaches adulthood. Guardianship may also be appointed if an adult is incapacitated. The guardian then makes healthcare and financial decisions until the protected person recovers or the guardian helps guide end-of-life decisions.

In the case of an adult, the court must determine they are incompetent and unable to make decisions for themselves. The law defines incompetence to help protect your rights. For example, a guardian may be appointed for:

  • An adult who is mentally disabled after their parents have passed
  • An adult who becomes mentally or physically disabled after an accident
  • An adult whose chronic substance abuse renders them incapable of taking proper care of themselves, their family, or property

What Does a Guardian Do?

A guardian can have several responsibilities. These can include consenting to and monitoring medical treatment. Individuals who are incapacitated may have a guardian appointed to them to make medical decisions. This includes decisions about prescription medications, surgical interventions, and other medical treatments.

Guardians also monitor non-medical services, like education, counseling, and living arrangements. In the case of medical treatment, a guardian is needed to consent for the release of confidential information. The guardian maximizes the protected person’s independence in the least restrictive manner possible. They are responsible for reporting the status of guardianship to the court.

A court-appointed guardian for real and personal property has different responsibilities. These include getting appraisals, protecting assets, receiving income, and making the appropriate disbursements.

The goal of guardianship is to restore the rights of the individual after due process. In some cases, guardianship may be for a lifetime. This might happen if an individual is significantly injured and subsequently unable to care for themselves. The court does an annual review and assessment to determine whether the guardianship should be maintained.

Should you have more questions, don’t hesitate to contact Arenson Law Group, PC today.

young girl with lawyers/discussion

Types of Guardianship

There are multiple types of guardianships the court can appoint. Guardianship of a minor child may be the first type you think of, but there are others to consider. There are three basic categories of guardianship.

Full guardianship is a legal relationship in which full responsibility and decision-making are granted to the guardian for the benefit of the protected person. Full responsibility can include guardianship over finances, personal affairs, and legal issues. A limited guardianship gives the guardian responsibility for specific needs for the individual, such as healthcare. Finally, joint guardianship can be a full or limited guardianship responsibility that is given to more than one guardian.

The court can appoint guardianship over a minor child or an elderly person. This is sometimes called elderly conservatorship. When an adult is unable to care for themselves or make decisions, legal guardians can be appointed when a person is unable to make their own health care decisions.

Individuals may appoint guardianship for their pets in a living will or trust after they pass. This can include money for the care of the pet. Legal conservators, also called financial guardians, manage financial assets for the protected person.

Contact Arenson Law Group, PC for Help with Guardianship Issues

Guardianship issues can be complex. The court appoints an adult they believe is the best choice to make the right decisions for the child, adult, or personal property disbursement. However, if you believe the appropriate decisions aren’t being made, or your loved one is not being cared for the way you believe they would want, you have options.

Contact the experienced and knowledgeable Cedar Rapids guardianship attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC. Our legal team has had decades of experience in the community and can help you sort through the legal issues involved in guardianships. Call our office today at (319) 363-8199 to schedule your initial consultation.


How Does Moving for a Job Affect My Visitation Agreement?

If you share physical custody of your child with another parent after a divorce or separation, there may come a time when you think about moving to a new area. Whether you’re eager for a fresh start or your employer is requiring you to relocate, it’s important to consider how this kind of change could impact your visitation agreement.

Assuming you intend to move relatively far away from the other parent, you may need to obtain approval from the court first. If the court decides your proposed move will make it impossible to keep up with your current custody arrangement, you may need to request a modification. However, you typically need to provide a compelling reason for a judge to modify an existing order. If the move is not in your child’s best interests, the court has the authority to deny your request to relocate.

If you wish to file a petition for relocation in Iowa, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney before you take action. At Arenson Law Group, PC, our experienced lawyers can review your case and outline your legal options in an initial consultation. Call us at (319) 363-8199 or contact us online to learn more.

Relocation and Visitation Agreements in Iowa

If a parent in the state of Iowa wishes to move their children to a residence that is more than 150 miles away from the child’s court-ordered residence, they are required to obtain permission first. If the parent seeking to relocate cannot get permission from the other parent, they can submit a petition to relocate in court.

When family law judges hear child custody cases involving relocation disputes, they review all available evidence and listen to testimony from both parents. The burden of proof typically rests with the parent wishing to move, who must demonstrate that the move is necessary due to a change in circumstances and that the move is in the best interests of the children.

After the hearing has concluded, the judge will issue an order based on their decision to approve or deny the relocation. If the petition to move is successful, the judge may also order adjustments to custody and visitation arrangements accordingly.

Is the Move in the Child’s Best Interests?

The most important matter in all child custody and visitation arrangements is whether the arrangement is in the child’s best interests. When judges determine whether a parent’s relocation is suitable for a child, they will consider the following factors:

  • The suitability of each parent as a custodian of the child
  • The emotional, social, and psychological needs of the child
  • Whether the child will suffer if they don’t have contact with both parents
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to communicate with the other parent about the needs of the child
  • Whether each parent actively participated in caring for the child before, during, and after separation or divorce
  • Whether each parent will support the other parent in maintaining a relationship with the child
  • Whether each parent agrees or objects to shared custody or visitation
  • The geographic location of each of the parents
  • Whether a shared custody or unrestricted visitation arrangement could place the safety of the child or either parent in jeopardy
  • Whether there has been a history of domestic abuse
  • The child’s wishes or objections, which are weighted based on the child’s age and level of maturity

What Happens If the Court Grants My Request to Relocate?

If the court decides to approve your request to relocate, you may have to fulfill certain obligations as a result. For example, you may be expected to:

  • Propose a new visitation schedule, outlining where and when visitation will be allowed with the noncustodial parent after the move. You may need to include special provisions for visitation during holidays or extended break periods.
  • Request a formal modification of the existing child custody or visitation order, if significant changes are required.
  • Determine the best method for your child to continue spending time with you and pay for all or a portion of the costs of their transportation.

Contact an Iowa Family Law Attorney Today

In many cases, moving for a job is the best option for you, but it’s important to think about how relocating could affect your family. If you are planning or considering a move, contact the dedicated Cedar Rapids family law attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC to learn more about how we can help.

Call us today at (319) 363-8199 or fill out our online contact form to get started with your initial case review.


Can I Text My Child When They Are with My Ex?

When parents are separated, the most important decision that needs to be made is who will have custody of the child and when. Child custody can be a contentious family issue because each parent has parental rights and wants to make sure their parental rights are enforced. Every parent wants what’s best for their child, but both parents’ ideas of what’s best for their child can conflict.

Child custody and visitation agreements generally cover everything pertaining to the child, and each parent must abide by those agreements. Custody orders are enforced by the law. But sometimes, the law and custody orders don’t address specific scenarios. If you are sharing custody of your child with the other parent or have visitation orders and have questions regarding your parental rights, you need an experienced family law attorney to help untangle the issues.

exwife phone call

Child Custody and Visitation

When deciding on child custody and visitation, the court has one main objective: to do what is in the best interest of the child and what best supports their welfare.

Parents may be awarded legal custody, where they have the authority to make decisions as to the child’s welfare, such as where they will go to school, where they’ll get their medical care, and what religious practices they’ll engage in. In specific cases, the court may find that one parent is unfit to be awarded legal custody, in which case one parent will be awarded sole custody of the child.

Courts typically aim to award both parents legal custody, recognizing that it is generally in the child’s best interest for the child to have “maximum continuing physical and emotional contact with both parents.” Courts determine which parent will be awarded custody of their child based on several factors, the most important of which are considerations that reflect the best interests of the child and the parents’ abilities to communicate about the child.

In Iowa, the courts also determine with which parent the child will reside. This is known as “physical placement.” One or both parents could be given physical care of the child. The custodial parent is with whom the child will live most of the time, but even in cases of joint custody, both parents have equal rights to the child’s physical care.

If you’re awarded joint physical care of the child, then you and the other parent will have to submit to the court a joint physical care parenting plan. In that plan, you and the other parent will detail how you will share physical care of the child, when each parent will have the child with them, and how you will communicate with each other and facilitate each other’s time with the children. If one parent is awarded sole physical care of the child, the other parent still retains their right to time with the child and their right to legal custody of the child (if it was awarded to them).

dad with daughter and phone

So, Can I Text My Child When They Are with My Ex?

The short answer: it depends. It depends on what was stipulated in the custody arrangement agreement. Unless a parent’s rights to legal custody were rejected due to a history of abuse or because their contact with the child would result in physical or emotional harm to the child, then a parent isn’t typically prohibited from contacting their child. Your parental rights include the right to contact your child even when they are in the physical care of their other parent. If you are concerned about your ability to communicate with your child when they are not in your care, then you should contact an attorney. You may need to petition the court for a modification of your custody or visitation agreement.

Why Choose Arenson Law Group, PC?

Our family law attorneys have years of experience representing clients in various family law matters, including divorce, alimony, child support, child custody, and visitation. We are admitted to practice law in the state of Iowa and are members of the Iowa State Bar Association. We believe in advocating for our clients’ best interests with compassion, and our commitment is to help them reach their legal goals in their cases.

Call Us Today

If you have concerns and questions about your child custody arrangement or are concerned about your parental rights, contact Arenson Law Group, PC today at (319) 363-8199 to speak with one of our experienced divorce attorneys. We are here to help you.

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