Due to many different types of circumstances, there may be times in the lives of both children and adults in Maryland when they need guardians in order to make sure their needs are met. This generally happens in a family law hearing when a family member or other individual feels that a person requires assistance in having his or her needs represented.
During a court hearing regarding the welfare of a child or disabled individual, the judge may decide that the person needs someone to speak on his or her behalf when it comes to medical or life decisions. However, only certain people are deemed by the court as being capable of providing unbiased representation in these cases. The court will tend to honor any guardianship status set up prior to court hearings above all others. From there, the hierarchy flows to a blood relative and then to a social services coordinator with knowledge of the individual's situation.
The court must be petitioned in order for a guardianship to be established. The petition must include the reason for which the guardianship is being sought and the matters for which the guardianship will be viable. Some guardians are only responsible for a person's financial status or physical property, while others take care of only medical needs and decisions. If guardianship over a person's property is requested, information on the property itself must also be included. For medical guardianship, the petition must contain information from two separate physicians on the person's condition.
The process for the appointment of a guardian may seem intimidating and confusing. Prior to undertaking it, it may be helpful to consult with a family law attorney who can answer questions and work to help the proceedings move forward.
Source: Maryland State Bar Association, "Appointing a Guardian", October 09, 2014