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What happens when disabled children reach adulthood?

| Mar 24, 2021 | Guardianship

When you’re the parent of a disabled child in Pennsylvania, you may have to care for him or her for the rest of his or her life. Parents have full legal rights over their children before they reach adulthood. But when your child turns 18, how can you continue to care for him or her?

Do you need a guardianship for your child?

Regardless of the circumstances, your child becomes a legal adult when he or she turns 18. This means that you have no say over his or her legal, medical and financial decisions. If your child can’t take care of him or herself, this kind of freedom could be dangerous.

For this reason, you’ll need to apply for a guardianship for disabled children reaching age of majority. A guardianship allows you to continue caring for your child as you did before. You’ll have the legal right to make important decisions on his or her behalf and stay involved with his or her finances and medical issues.

However, you’ll have to prove that your child is too disabled to make decisions on his or her own. This requires your child’s doctor to get involved and or requires an evaluation from a Doctor. A guardianship attorney could help you prove that your child needs someone to manage his or her day-to-day affairs. Since many people use guardianships to take advantage of vulnerable relatives, the judge wants to make sure that you’re acting in your child’s best interests.

How do you petition for guardianship?

An attorney could help you gather the required documentation and petition the court for guardianship. During the hearing, you’ll have to prove that your child can’t look after him or herself and needs someone to make major decisions for him or her. Granting someone guardianship over someone else means taking away a person’s certain rights, so the judge will want to give your child as much independence as possible. If there’s a chance that your child will recover, you may seek a temporary guardianship. Otherwise, you could seek a permanent guardianship that lasts for the rest of your life.