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Standby Guardianship Agreement: Securing Your Child's Future

Standby Guardianship Agreement: Securing Your Child's Future

As a parent, ensuring the well-being and security of your child is a top priority. While it's natural to focus on the present, it's also crucial to plan for the future, especially in unexpected situations. A standby guardianship agreement is a legal document that allows parents to designate a standby guardian for their child, ensuring their care in the event that the parents are unable to do so themselves.


Situations where a Standby Guardianship is Needed


  • You’re a single parent and the other parent is not around, has addiction problems or is simply not responsible.

  • Members of the armed forces called up for duty away from home.

  • You’re a single parent and the other parent is incarcerated.

  • Your immigration status is uncertain and you want your children to remain in the United States.

  • Unexpected travel delays keep both parents from returning on time.

  • You’re called away for work without another parent available.

  • A sudden health event or injury could prevent you from caring for your child.


These are only a few examples.  The truth is that every time a parent leaves home, there’s a chance something could happen that would prevent them from caring for their child. 


Don’t Assume Things Will Take Care of Themselves


Many people assume their families would “do the right thing” in the event any of the situations above were to occur.  Often a recipe for conflict if a parent fails to name a standby guardian. More times than not, multiple family members believe that they are the best choice for the child, and a custody battle can result when parents aren’t clear as to their wishes.


What is a Standby Guardianship Agreement?


A standby guardianship agreement is a legal document that designates a standby guardian to care for a child if the child's parents are unable to do so. This could be due to various reasons, such as illness, incapacity, or temporary absence. The standby guardian steps in only when the parents are unable to fulfill their parenting responsibilities, providing a seamless transition of care for the child.


The parent does not lose any parental rights by completing an agreement and has the power to revoke the standby guardianship at any time. The parent always keeps custodial rights.


Are you a grandparent?  This would make a great gift for your child.  Love them by helping them get this protection for your grandchildren in place.


Why is it Important for Parents to Have in Place?


1. Ensures Continuity of Care

In unforeseen circumstances where parents are unable to care for their child, a standby guardianship agreement ensures that someone trusted by the parents can step in immediately, preventing any disruption in the child's care.  Otherwise the children are at risk of being placed in the local child welfare and foster care system and the parents risk losing their parental rights.


2. Peace of Mind

Knowing that there is a plan in place for your child's care can provide peace of mind to parents, especially in situations where they may be facing health issues or other challenges.


3. Legal Protection

A standby guardianship agreement provides legal protection for both the parents and the designated standby guardian. It clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the standby guardian and ensures that their authority to make decisions for the child is recognized.


4. Avoids Court Intervention

Without a standby guardianship agreement, if something were to happen to the parents, the court would need to intervene to determine who should care for the child. Do you want to leave that decision up to a judge who doesn’t know your family or your child?  Of course not. This process can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful for all involved.


5. Flexibility

Standby guardianship agreements can be tailored to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the family. Parents can choose the standby guardian, specify the conditions under which the standby guardianship would take effect, and outline any specific instructions for the care of the child.


How to Create a Standby Guardianship Agreement


Creating a standby guardianship agreement involves several steps:


1. Choose a Standby Guardian

Select someone who is willing and able to care for your child if you are unable to do so.


2. Consult an Attorney:

It is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in family law to help you draft the agreement and ensure that it complies with Pennsylvania state laws.  Fiffik Law Group attorneys can prepare this agreement for a low flat fee.


3. Draft the Agreement

The agreement should include details such as the names and addresses of the parents and standby guardian, the conditions under which the standby guardianship would take effect, and any specific instructions for the care of the child.  It isn’t a DIY document.  It needs to comply with the law so its unwise to try and do this yourself. 


4. Sign and Notarize the Agreement

Both parents must sign the agreement, and it must be notarized to make it legally binding.


5. Keep the Agreement Updated

Review the agreement periodically and update it as needed to reflect any changes in circumstances or preferences.


A standby guardianship agreement is a valuable tool for parents to ensure the continuity of care for their child in unforeseen circumstances. Our family attorneys can prepare this document for you.  By taking the time to create a standby guardianship agreement, parents can have peace of mind knowing that their child will be cared for according to their wishes.

1 Comment

I recently came across the concept of a Standby Guardianship Agreement, and it got me thinking about the importance of planning for our children’s future. Knowing that someone trustworthy will step in and take care of your child in case of an emergency provides immense peace of mind. This is especially crucial if you’re dealing with personal challenges, like going through a rehabilitation process. Enrolling in a luxury rehab centre can be a pivotal step towards recovery, but ensuring that your child's future is secure with a Standby Guardianship Agreement can make that journey smoother and less stressful. It's all about planning ahead and making responsible choices for our loved ones.

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