Can you seek a guardianship when a special needs child turns 18?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Children don’t magically become financially and emotionally independent at the age of 18, but a parent’s legal obligation to provide for them does end. Still, you may know that your child isn’t ready for independence just because they have lived for 18 years. Many parents continue supporting and guiding their children through their 20s and even into their 30s.

In some cases, a child may never be able to live without some level of support from you. When you have a child with special needs, legal adulthood can make things a lot more complex. Although you may expect to continue offering both financial and practical support, it can be harder to do when once your child is an adult.

If your child is resistant to your help, they may push back at your attempts to support them. You also will not have access to medical information or educational records without written permission from them. If you know your child still needs support because of their special needs, seeking a guardianship can give them help and you peace of mind.

Does your situation qualify for a guardianship?

In order to secure a guardianship over an adult, you will have to be able to convince the judge that your child with special needs cannot meet the obligations of adulthood without help.

In some cases with severe medical conditions, diagnostic paperwork may be the only thing necessary. Other times, you may need testimony from medical professionals and support workers who will understand your child’s condition to convince the court of the need for ongoing supervision and support.

Once you demonstrate that your child needs support, the court can approve you as a guardian, provided that you meet certain criteria. You have to be at least 21 years of age and demonstrate the ability to fulfill the obligations of the role. 

Guardianship doesn’t limit your child’s growth

Having a guardian will not stop your child from continuing their education, getting their own place to live or even making decisions about their personal life and household. What it will do is provide you with the authority to oversee the most important decisions and help support them in their steps toward maturity and independence.