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What is a standby guardian in Virginia?


Most Virginia residents agree that parents have an unconditional love for their children and will always do what's best for them. But sometimes situations develop in a parent's life where they may not be able to take care of their children. In this type of situation Virginia parents can employ a legal method known as a standby guardian. But exactly what is a standby guardian, and what are its limitations?

Basically, a standby guardian is a competent adult who has been designated to care for another adult's minor children for a certain finite period of time. Standby guardians are awarded child custody only when the specific criteria outlined in their agreement develops. This can be if the parents must make an extended trip without their children or if one of the parents is in the hospital and the other parent is unable to care for their children.

Designating a standby guardian is pretty straightforward. All a parent needs to do is to fill out the Virginia standby guardian form. In the form, the parent must first identify the standby guardian and then specify the conditions that must occur so the standby guardian can assume caring for their children. These can include any serious medical problems or even death. Once the form is completed it must be filed with the county of residence within 30 days of the triggering event.

It's important to remember that the designation of a standby guardian can be revoked by a written notice to the court. However, any Virginia parent who is considering designating a standby guardian may want to speak to a family law attorney in order to find out all of the legal ramifications of this type of order.

Source: grandfamilies.org, "Summary of standby guardianship statutes by state", Accessed May 9, 2016

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