Question 1: What is a standby guardian?
Answer: A standby guardian is a person who will take over your parenting responsibilities if you should suddenly fall ill or get injured. These guardians take over when you lose your capacity to take care of your children and need someone else to do it for you. Unlike other forms of guardianships, a standby guardianship does not remove your parenting rights, it merely allows you to have someone else take over when needed.
Question 2: How do you appoint a standby guardian?
Answer: A parent can file a petition with an Arkansas court that asks it to approve the parent’s choice for a standby guardian and, once approved, the guardian can begin parenting responsibilities when the parent is no longer able. The court must determine that the nominated guardian can properly care for the child and that naming him or her as standby guardian is in the child’s best interests.
Question 3: When does the standby guardian assume parenting responsibilities?
Answer: That depends on the condition of the parent. A standby guardian can begin caring for the child when the parent dies, when the parent is mentally incapacitated or when the parent is physically incapacitated and grants his or her consent for the standby guardian to take over parenting duties. Once the standby guardian takes over, he or she must immediately notify the court. The court will then enter a guardianship order granting the guardian parenting rights.