All About Temporary Guardianship


All About Temporary Guardianship

In a temporary guardianship arrangement, the court appoints someone (the guardian) to take care of another person (the ward) for a short time. This arrangement is common when the ward, who can be a child or an adult, needs someone to step in and make important life decisions for them.

Temporary guardianship gives the guardian legal rights to make choices about things like health care, schooling, and living arrangements for the ward. The goal is to ensure that someone can meet the ward’s needs when their usual caregivers can’t do so, whether due to illness, absence, or other reasons. This setup is temporary, meaning it’s designed to last only until the regular caregivers can resume their duties or a more permanent solution is found. 

How Does Temporary Guardianship Work in Texas?

A temporary guardianship arrangement allows someone other than a ward’s usual caregivers – be they parents of a child or caretakers of an adult – to make decisions and provide care for a short period. To establish temporary guardianship, you must demonstrate to a court that it’s in the ward’s best interest. This could involve proving that the usual caregivers currently cannot fulfill their responsibilities due to illness, work obligations, or other significant reasons.

The scope of what a temporary guardian can do is limited. For instance, they cannot make decisions that would have long-term implications beyond the guardianship period, such as relocating the ward out of state permanently or making significant financial investments on their behalf. The law enforces these limits to protect both the ward’s rights and those of their usual caregivers.

During a temporary guardianship arrangement, the usual caregivers share decision-making rights with the temporary guardian. However, this does not entirely strip them of their rights. They can petition the court to terminate the temporary guardianship if their circumstances improve or if they believe continuing the arrangement is no longer in the ward’s best interest. 

Common Reasons for Establishing Temporary Guardianship

A temporary guardianship can be a useful arrangement for ensuring the welfare of a ward during periods when their caregivers cannot provide the care or decision-making functions the ward needs. Here are some common reasons families might opt for temporary guardianship:

  • Medical Emergencies: If a caregiver faces a severe health issue involving long-term hospitalization or incapacitation, they might be unable to care for their loved one effectively. Temporary guardianship allows another adult to make healthcare decisions and manage the ward’s day-to-day needs until the caregiver recovers.
  • Military Deployment: Caregivers serving in the military might have to deploy overseas or to locations far from home, making it impossible to provide daily care. In such cases, temporary guardianship grants a trusted individual the authority to care for the ward, make legal decisions on their behalf, and ensure their life remains as uninterrupted as possible.
  • Educational Needs: Sometimes, a child’s educational opportunities, such as attending a specific school or participating in a special program, might necessitate living in a different location temporarily. If this occurs, parents can establish temporary guardianship with a family member or friend in that area, allowing the child to take advantage of these opportunities without uprooting the household.
  • Parental Incapacitation: If a parent struggles with substance abuse, mental health issues, or other circumstances that impair their ability to care for their child effectively, temporary guardianship might be a practical solution. It places the child in a safe, stable environment with a guardian who can provide for their needs while the parent seeks treatment or rehabilitation. 

How Long Does Temporary Guardianship Last in Texas?

The duration of a temporary guardianship arrangement in Texas is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, its length depends on the specific needs of the ward. Typically, the court sets this period based on what they believe is in the ward’s best interest. In many cases, temporary guardianships can last up to six months. However, the court can extend this period if the situation requires it.

For example, let’s say a caregiver needs more time to recover from an illness or a deployed military parent doesn’t return home as soon as expected. In that case, the guardian can request an extension. The court reviews these requests to ensure the ongoing arrangement benefits the ward’s well-being. 

Can I Grant Temporary Guardianship to a Family Member?

Yes, you can grant temporary guardianship to a family member in Texas. Choosing a family member for temporary guardianship can be a good option because it often means the ward can stay within a familiar, supportive environment. The family member you choose needs to agree to take on this responsibility. Additionally, the court must approve this arrangement to make it official, ensuring it’s in the ward’s best interest. 

The Process of Establishing a Temporary Guardianship

Negotiating a Settlement Out of CourtYou’ll need to follow several important steps to establish temporary guardianship in Texas. First, decide who you want as the temporary guardian and ensure they are willing and able to take on this responsibility. Next, complete the necessary guardianship forms, which you can find online or get from a Texas court. When you work with a trusted attorney, they can help you identify the correct forms and handle the process of completing and filing them so you avoid delays and other issues.

After filing the forms with your local Texas court, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, you, your lawyer, the potential guardian, and possibly the ward will discuss the guardianship arrangement with a judge. Your attorney can prepare you for what to expect, represent you during the hearing, and argue on your behalf, emphasizing why the temporary guardianship is in the ward’s best interest.

If the judge agrees, they will issue an order for temporary guardianship, officially granting the guardian the legal right to care for and make decisions on behalf of the ward for the specified period. If the judge doesn’t grant temporary guardianship, your attorney can help you address the court’s concerns, reapply with necessary adjustments, explore alternative legal arrangements, or appeal the decision. 

Contact a Guardianship Lawyer in Austin, Texas

Need to set up a temporary guardianship in Texas, but not sure where to start? Contact the Austin family law attorneys of Smith Family Law today at (512) 648-5487 for a free initial consultation. Our team is here to guide you through the process and offer the support you need to make the best decisions for your loved ones. Whether you’re looking to become a guardian or you need someone to take care of your ward temporarily, we’re ready to assist.

Written by: Smith Family Law

Contact Us

We would like to hear from you. Please send us a message by filling out the form below and we will get back with you shortly.