Guardianship Alberta

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Explore the intricacies of guardianship in Alberta with Driessen De Rudder. Our guide covers legal processes and responsibilities to help you make informed decisions. Call us now.

Overview of the Guardianship Law in Alberta

In Alberta, the traditional default guardian arrangement for a child is typically the birth mother and her male spouse. However, families are diverse and may only sometimes fit into these predefined categories. In such instances, individuals may be compelled to pursue guardianship through the court system.

Guardianship holds significant legal weight as it grants the authority to decide for a child, regardless of parentage or relationship status. Therefore, understanding the concepts, responsibilities, and legal aspects of guardianship in Alberta is crucial. This comprehensive guide will explore various aspects of guardianship, including its definition, types, and the legal process for establishing it.

At Driessen De Rudder, we pride ourselves on helping clients navigate these complexities with personalized care. Whether you seek guardianship for a minor or an incapacitated adult or need assistance contesting or terminating a guardianship, our skilled legal team guides you through every step.

Understanding Guardianship in Alberta

In Alberta, a legal guardian is entrusted with ensuring the well-being of a minor child or an adult over 18 who lacks decision-making capacity. This article will focus on child guardianship, which has specific rights, responsibilities, and powers.

A child’s guardian can make crucial decisions regarding their life and welfare. Furthermore, they should spend sufficient time with the child to foster informed decision-making and fulfill their obligations towards them.

 

The Role of a Guardian

In Alberta, a guardian is responsible for ensuring a child’s well-being. These responsibilities include:

  • Nurturing the child’s physical, mental, and emotional development.

  • Providing the child with essential needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

  • Granting consent for the child’s medical care.

  • Receiving and managing the child’s health and educational information.

  • Responding to legal notices concerning the child.

  • Handling legal matters relevant to the child.

  • Appointing a temporary guardian in case of emergencies when the guardian cannot be present.

Additionally, a guardian is entrusted with making important decisions on behalf of the child. These decisions involve:

  • Determining the language(s) the child speaks.

  • Overseeing the child’s religious and spiritual upbringing.

  • Deciding the child’s place of residence.

  • Choosing the individuals with whom the child lives and maintains contact.

  • Allowing or prohibiting the child from engaging in employment and specifying the nature of the work.

  • Supervising the child’s activities both inside and outside of school.

Remember that the term “guardian” can refer to two different scenarios. Firstly, it can describe an adult responsible for a minor child. Secondly, it can involve adult guardianship. In adult guardianship, one adult can make personal decisions for another adult who cannot do so independently.

The Legal Process of Establishing Guardianship

Step 1: Fill out the necessary forms

To establish child guardianship in Alberta, you must complete a set of forms available at Alberta’s official process for child guardianship. These forms are essential as they gather crucial information about the child, the proposed guardian, and other relevant details. Specifically, you may fill out the “Adult’s Statement – Guardianship of Child” form and the “Claim – Family Law Act” form.

Step 2: File your order

When submitting your guardianship order, please ensure that you visit the same court and location where you have previously:

  • Attended court with the other party, or

  • Initiated any court action that has yet to go to court.

If you still need to do either, you are free to file your claim at any court in Alberta.

If you are seeking private guardianship for a child currently under the care of Alberta Children’s Services, where the director has custody or guardianship without applying on your behalf, please call us for more information and let us help you through this process.

Legal Requirements

Guardianship of Minors Under the Family Law Act, the Court of King’s Bench holds the exclusive authority to grant guardianship. An individual may be appointed as the child’s guardian upon their application, provided they are an adult and have had care and control of the child for six months.

If you have given birth to a child, you automatically become a legal guardian. You (or the other parent) are considered a guardian if any of the following situations apply:

  1. Living Together: You and the other parent resided together for at least 12 months when the child was born.
  2. Adult Interdependent Relationship: You and the other parent lived together when the child was born and were in an ‘adult interdependent relationship’ that lasted:
    • Three years of interdependence with another adult
    • Less than three years, but both of you signed an Adult Interdependent Partnership Agreement
    • Less than three years, but both of you had a child together.
  3. Post-Birth Interdependent Relationship: After the child is born, you have an adult interdependent relationship with the other parent within one year of learning about the child.
  4. Marriage or Divorce: You and the other parent were married when the child was born, or you married within one year of learning about the child, or you got divorced during the pregnancy less than 300 days before the child was born.

Alternatively, a parent who is not currently a child’s guardian may apply for guardianship. The Court always considers the child’s best interests when granting the Guardianship Order.

Guardianship for Adults with Incapacity

When seeking guardianship for an adult, specific legal requirements must be met. Primarily, the Court must be provided with evidence demonstrating the adult’s incapacity to make decisions, whether due to mental or physical limitations.

The initial step involves a professional assessment of the adult’s capacity. This assessment can be conducted by their family doctor, another physician, a psychologist or psychiatrist, or a designated capacity assessor.

It is essential to consider that the Court will also consider the adult’s best interests when determining the need for a guardian. In making this determination, the Court must assess various factors, such as the proposed guardianship plan, the existence of a Personal Directive, and the presence of a Supported Decision-Making Authorization.

At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, our team has extensive knowledge of the intricacies of Guardianship Considerations. We also have a dedicated team of skilled wills and estate lawyers who can assist you with guardianship and trusteeship matters involving adults with incapacity.

Contesting and Terminating Guardianship

 

In certain circumstances, it may become necessary to reconsider someone’s role as a guardian for your child. When it is necessary to end guardianship, the Court will evaluate whether it is in the child’s best interests and if any potential risks are involved.

The Court may consider terminating a parent’s guardianship – regardless of the source of guardianship – provided that one of the following conditions are met:

  • The guardian to be terminated consents to the termination.

  • The Court deems it fit to terminate the guardianship for valid reasons.

If the child is 12 years or older, their consent is required, unless the Court finds good reason to proceed without it. The Court can also terminate the guardianship of anyone who is incapable or unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities towards a child if they apply for a guardianship order and the Court grants it.

These conditions serve as safeguards to prevent hasty termination of guardianship, unwarranted intrusion by external parties into family matters, and the potential for a guardian to be removed without consent, especially if the child is older than 12 and has expressed their wishes.

Seeking assistance from a knowledgeable lawyer is crucial when it comes to terminating or modifying guardianship arrangements. The process involves intricate legal procedures, demanding a thorough understanding of the Family Law Act and other pertinent regulations. At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, our team of family lawyers has a rich experience in all aspects of Alberta’s guardianship law. We’re fully equipped to provide reliable guidance and support during challenging times.

Navigating the Legal Landscape of Guardianship with Legal Professionals

Understanding guardianship within Alberta’s legal framework is vital to safeguard your child’s welfare and rights. At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, we have a proven track record of success in handling guardianship cases. This speaks to our unwavering commitment to our clients and our profound comprehension of Alberta’s Family Law Act.

Our team takes pride in delivering personalized client care, tailoring our approach to each unique case to effectively meet our clients’ needs. For professional legal assistance in

navigating the legal landscape of guardianship, do not hesitate to contact Driessen De Rudder Law Office today. Our team of Barrhead estate planning lawyers is also here to assist you with any concerns regarding the guardianship of an incapacitated adult, especially when it involves wills and estate planning matters and any related legal issues.

Let’s get started with your family law needs by scheduling a consultation with us today.

Driessen De Rudder
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5017-50 Avenue, Box 4220,
Barrhead, AB T7N 1A2

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Driessen De Rudder Law Office is a full-service law firm serving Barrhead, Alberta and surrounding towns.