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What is a natural guardian, and what is their role?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2022 | Estate Planning, Probate & Guardianships

Most people in Texas don’t give much thought to guardianship. However, it’s something that many should consider. You should also know about natural guardians and their roles.

What is a natural guardian?

A natural guardian is a child’s parent. When a child is a minor, the law recognizes the biological parents as having natural guardianship. If the parents divorce or separate, the court will then recognize the parent who is awarded custody as the natural guardian. However, depending on the type of custody arrangement agreed upon, both parents may still be considered natural guardians of the child.

Once the child reaches 18 years old, they are no longer considered to be under their parent’s guardianship.

Depending on the circumstances, another person may petition the court for guardianship of the child. For example, if the parent is abusive or neglectful, has a history of serious drug or alcohol abuse or abandons the child, the court might revoke the parent’s guardianship rights. The petitioner would have to provide evidence to support the argument that the biological parent is unfit and that being in their care instead would be in the child’s best interests.

What is the role of a natural guardian?

A child’s natural guardian makes all the major decisions that affect the child’s life. If this is not the child’s biological parent, the court might appoint another person as the child’s guardian, making them responsible for making decisions on behalf of the child.

The appointed guardian might also be granted the right to serve as the child’s conservator. This means that they are responsible for all financial matters pertaining to the child. For example, if the child’s parents passed away and left them an inheritance, the conservator would oversee those funds and ensure that the child receives them once they reach the age of majority.

Natural guardians have a huge responsibility to children, including ensuring they receive an education and medical care.