When a person turns 18, they are considered an adult in the eyes of the law and are allowed to care for themselves and make life decisions without parental approval. However, when a child has a disability, parents may feel that the child will not be capable of taking care of themselves in adulthood without assistance.
If your child has a disability and will be turning 18 within the next year, you may want to start thinking about guardianship so that you can legally continue to provide them with the care they need.
Getting guardianship of an adult child in Pennsylvania is not an easy process. Here are some of the steps you will be required to take:
- File a petition with the local court of common pleas where your child resides. Your petition should address why you are qualified to be your child’s guardian. The court will then schedule a hearing.
- Make sure your child and other relevant parties have at least 20 days’ notice of the hearing.
- Attend the guardianship hearing scheduled by the court.
- Present evidence at the hearing to prove that your child requires guardianship and is not capable of managing themselves and their finances.
While guardianship may be appropriate in some situations, it is not always needed. Before you submit the petition for guardianship of your adult child, you should consider other alternatives, such as health care advance directives. An attorney specializing in guardianship for disabled children reaching the age of majority can help you make the best choice for your child and assist with the guardianship process, if necessary.