New Jersey Kinship Legal Guardian
In the State of New Jersey, if a child's birth parents are unable to care for them, the child's caregiver may petition the courts to appoint them as a kinship legal guardian. If the court agrees, the birth parents will no longer have legal custody of their child, but will still retain some legal rights under the law.
New Jersey kinship legal guardianship is a serious responsibility and one that the NJ courts do not take lightly. As such, you will need to work with a seasoned NJ legal guardianship attorney throughout the process. If you are considering New Jersey kinship legal guardianship, it is important to understand all of your rights and responsibilities.
New Jersey Kinship Legal Guardianship Rights
The New Jersey statute for kinship legal guardianships provides that a kinship legal guardian shall have the same rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the child as a birth parent, including:
- Making decisions regarding the child's care and well-being
- Consenting to routine and emergency medical and mental health needs
- Arranging and consenting to educational plans for the child
- Applying for admission to college
- Ensuring the child's safety
- Ensuring the maintenance and protection of the child
New Jersey Biological Parents' Rights
While a kinship legal guardian has many of the same rights as the birth parents, there are some restrictions. The NJ kinship legal guardian is not permitted to consent to the adoption of the child or a name change of the child, as these rights remain with the child's birth parents.
It should be understood that biological parents continue to be responsible for payment of child support. The biological parents have a continued right of visitation with the child as determined by the court and arranged by the parties.
Eligibility for New Jersey Kinship Legal Guardianship
Anyone who is caring for a child in the State of New Jersey can apply for kinship legal guardianship if certain criteria are met, including:
- Child has been under your care for at least 12 months
- The biological parents of the child cannot care for the child
- You are related to the child or are a family friend
- You are financially able to care for the child
- It is in the child's best interest to remain in your care
If you are not a child's biological parent but are the caregiver for a child in the State of New Jersey (NJ), the experienced NJ kinship legal guardianship lawyers at Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group, LLC are available to help you through this legal process. Our attorneys will discuss with you all of the delicate intricacies of kinship legal guardianship, and help you determine if New Jersey kinship legal guardianship is an option that is right for you.