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Having a child can be one of the most exciting times in your life. It is almost as if the gravity in the world shifts when your baby is born. It is definitely a time in which you may think about how fragile life is and consider what would happen to your loved ones should the worst happen to you.

Who will look after my child?

It is important to have a contingency plan in place in case the worst does happen to you and/or your partner – after all, we know that we can’t control what happens in life. In the event that one parent passes away, the surviving parent usually becomes the sole legal guardian of the child, unless there are certain circumstances in which this would not be in the best interests of the child. This could include, an AVO against the surviving parent, evidence of negligence of the surviving parent, evidence of domestic violence perpetrated by the surviving parent, or evidence of substance abuse or alcoholism of the surviving parent.

If you are concerned this applies to you, you should seek legal advice from experienced solicitors, such as Gowland Legal, to safeguard your child.

How can I appoint a guardian for my child?

The best way to ensure your wishes for your child’s care are honoured should you pass away is by formally appointing a trusted person in your life to care for your child. This person is called a ‘guardian’ and in the eyes of the law the guardian takes over your job as parent, becoming responsible for the care and custody of your child.

The most effective way to appoint a legal guardian is in your will. Your will isn’t just about designating who is going to get your assets. If you require a new will which appoints a legal guardian for your child, you should seek legal advice to ensure your children are provided for even in death, contact Gowland Legal.

What should I think about when appointing a guardian?

Selecting a guardian can be one of the most difficult decisions. First and foremost, choose someone you trust to love and protect your child as you would.

Other important considerations include:

  • Someone who may already have a good relationship with the child,
  • The physical, emotional and financial capacity of the person,
  • Whether that person would be willing to change their lifestyle, location and plans to accommodate your child, and
  • Likeness in personal values, religion, lifestyle and child rearing.

It is always a good idea to discuss with the prospective guardian your plans to appoint guardianship to them. In this discussion, they should get a good idea of your intentions, expectations and wishes.

Think carefully when you draft your next will. Remember in preparing for the worst, you need to make plans for your assets, but the most important asset in your life is your child and that requires a plan too.