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Guardianship & Adoptions

Regarding our Guardianship & Adoptions services, we understand the delicate nature of family dynamics and the legal processes involved in guardianship and adoptions. This page serves as a comprehensive guide to our legal services, emphasizing the crucial role we play in fostering secure family structures.

Legal Guardianship Services

Navigating the complexities of legal guardianship is a pivotal aspect of ensuring the well-being of minors and vulnerable individuals. Our experienced guardianship attorneys focus on providing compassionate legal support. Whether you are seeking to establish legal guardianship or contesting guardianship decisions, our team is here to guide you through the process with empathy.

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woman who has guardianship of elderly man

Guardianship Attorney Experience and Knowledge

When facing decisions regarding legal guardianship, having a knowledgeable guardianship attorney by your side is invaluable. Our legal team is well-versed in the intricacies of guardianship law, offering personalized advice and legal representation tailored to the unique needs of your family. We prioritize the best interests of the ward while ensuring that the legal aspects of guardianship are handled with diligence and care.

Guardianship

The three most common scenarios for guardianship in Idaho are as follows:

An elderly person no longer has the capacity to care for himself or herself. A special needs person has attained the age of eighteen but cannot assume adult responsibilities. A minor child’s parents cannot care for a child.

Guardianship requires approval from a court and courts take this responsibility very seriously. In fact, before a court grants a guardianship, a court must make specific findings that the guardianship is in the proposed ward’s (a ward is the person seeking guardianship) best interest, and that the proposed guardian is both willing and capable to care for the person seeking guardianship. Depending on the situation, it is common for courts to order the following things to occur:

  • Home Visits
    An attorney called a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the proposed ward. This attorney is usually required to make a written report documenting his or her findings and recommendations.
  • Doctor Evaluations
    Idaho courts are careful to grant guardianship in a manner “so as to encourage the development of maximum self-reliance and independence of the incapacitated person, and make appointive and other orders only to the extent necessitated by the incapacitated person’s actual mental and adaptive limitations or other conditions warranting the procedure.” Idaho Code § 15-5-304. Idaho courts take this requirement very seriously. Prior to granting a guardianship, judges carefully review the guardianship paperwork and typically ask many clarifying questions at hearings for guardianship. A hearing is required. Because conservatorship is typically part of guardianship, the paperwork and court hearing will likely deal extensively with the ward’s financial affairs as well.

Special Considerations Related to Guardianships

It is possible to avoid guardianship and conservatorship in circumstances relating to the elderly by planning well in advance with a sound estate plan. This can occur when a person places his or her assets in a living trust and designates someone to make financial and medical decisions in financial and medical powers of attorney.

Many parents are surprised to find out that they need to obtain guardianship and conservatorship for their special needs children when they reach 18 years of age. Oftentimes, parents will be able to continue in their duties without question, but legally a special needs person is entitled to the same rights as any other adult upon reaching the age of majority. It is important to establish proper guardianship and conservatorship when your special needs children reach the age of majority, to ensure parents maintain legal authority and responsibility for things such as directing finances, education, medical care, and living arrangements.

Idaho law has multiple resources in place for grandparents (and sometimes siblings or other family members or friends) who are caring for their grandchildren. In some cases, grants are available to assist with the financial difficulties associated with caring for grandchildren.

If you and your spouse pass away prior to your children reaching the age of majority, you can avoid costly, and sometimes heartbreaking, litigation by simply creating a will or trust designating who should be the guardian of your children in the event of you and your spouses’ deaths. Many people fail to realize the importance of this provision when considering whether to have a will or trust drafted when they are younger and still have children at home.

Adoptions

These are common adoptions which occur when one parent has remarried and the new spouse is interested in treating the child as his or her own child.

Idaho Code § 16-1513 requires a person who claims to be a father of a child born out of wedlock, to make a filing with the State of Idaho in order to preserve his claim as father.

These are becoming more and more common and occur when grandparents adopt grandchildren. Resources may be available in some circumstances to assist grandparents who are involved in grandchild adoptions. Agency adoptions are very common and occur when an agency (private or state) assists birth parents in connecting with adoptive parents.

The Office of Indian Affairs states on its website that, “The purpose of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to protect the best interest of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children and placement of such children in homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture.”

Each adoption is different and adoptions often have varying requirements depending on the type of adoption that is occurring. However, all adoption cases must go through the courts and require an appropriate petition to be filed.

Adoption Services

Building families through adoption is a beautiful journey, and our adoption attorneys are here to facilitate every step. Whether you are considering domestic or international adoption, our skilled legal team provides a smooth and legally sound process. From navigating adoption regulations to finalizing the legal aspects of the adoption, we are committed to making your adoption journey a positive and legally secure experience.

adoption spelled out in blocks
adoption attorney preparing legal documents

Adoption Attorney Guidance

The decision to adopt is significant, and having an experienced adoption attorney is crucial for a successful and legally compliant adoption process. Our adoption attorneys provide comprehensive guidance, from assisting with the adoption application to finalizing legal proceedings. We are dedicated to helping families grow through adoption while ensuring all legal requirements are met with precision.

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Our Guardianship & Adoptions services are rooted in a commitment to nurturing families through legal guidance. Whether you are navigating legal guardianship or embarking on the journey of adoption, our attorneys are here to provide compassionate support, ensuring that the legal aspects align with the best interests of your family. Our attorneys in Idaho Falls and Meridian are ready to help.

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