Every situation is different, but an end date for the relationship between guardians and minors can be established from the beginning of the legal agreement or can be determined by other conditions. For example, a child guardian who serves as a guardian ad litem only serves until the judge rules on a custody agreement between the divorcing parents or the conflict over a child’s needs is resolved.
A legal guardian who serves as a guardian of the estate may only serve until the child turns 18 in some states, or 21 in others, and can take charge of his own financial affairs. Guardians and minors may be together permanently, until the child turns 18, the child dies, the judge determines the guardianship is no longer necessary, or until the child’s parents become competent to exercise their parental duties once again. The legal guardian may also choose to step down if the duties have become burdensome. If that happens, the judge may appoint another child guardian to fulfill those duties.
For any legal guardian, the court may be petitioned to adjust the situation of guardians and minors at any time during the process or while the child is in need of a legal caregiver. This may occur if the legal guardian is not fulfilling his duties adequately or not providing a good home for the child. Guardians and minors have a vital relationship that is more than just fulfilling a legal need. The state should ensure that child guardians are caring individuals who will build a strong relationship between those guardians and minors throughout the period in which they are needed.
A permanent legal guardian has the extra responsibility of building character and morality in his charge. It is unacceptable for a child guardian to take advantage of the child or, in the case of a guardian of the estate, to misuse the child’s assets. In such a situation, the legal guardian can be replaced by someone who will more appropriately fulfill the requirements of a child guardian.
Guardians and minors may be under scrutiny of the court throughout their relationship. In many situations the court will require a regular report from the legal guardian to indicate the status of the child, the relationship, the assets (if appropriate), or the custody battle.