I have a 14 year old daughter whom I have custody of. her mother is in jail and my best friend has been helping take care of my daughter since my daughter and her daughter go to the same school. I currently am getting evicted and have lost my job and am moving 45 minutes from her school. She is going to be staying with my friend and her children so she can continue going to school and have a family life style and not be moving around. I don't want to give up my rights but I would like to appoint my friend as her legal guardian in addition to myself so if she needs to do anything with the school, doctor's, etc she can without me having to be there all the time. What do I need to do? Is a notarized letter good enough for something like this or do we need to go to court?
Yes, your friend can be appointed as a guardian by the court, assuming she meets the requirements for a guardian under the law. See Fla. Stat. 744.3021. Whether the school will abide by a non-court order, that would be a question for the school, as the policies vary from district to district, but since your friend is not related to your daughter, it will most likely require a court order. You should consult an attorney that handles guardianship law.
You should consider doing a power of attorney for minor and designation of health care surrogate for minor. Those are a lot less costly than a guardianship and the Court will not have to be involved. With those documents, you will not be "giving up your parental rights" and you can revoke them at any time.
You will want to make sure that the school, doctor's, etc will accept a power of attorney of minor and designation of health care surrogate of minor. They should, but it is always good to make sure.
You should also make sure that you hire an experienced attorney to draft these documents for you so that you can be certain they are accurate, up to date, and executed properly.
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It is good of you to be thinking along these lines. Far too many parents do not consider the legal ramifications of leaving their child with someone else when the parents move out of the school district, but want to leave their child to finish school where they started. A properly drafted power of attorney, either with healthcare provisions or with a separate healthcare surrogate designation, should do the trick in most school districts; but, as has been suggested, check with yours to make sure. Better safe than sorry. A power of attorney for this sort of situation is much different from your typical power of attorney and must include things a typical power of attorney would not. Your best be is to hire a good estate planning attorney. Another option is to consult an attorney who practices in education law. I am a guardianship attorney, but I will tell you that you want to avoid guardianship if possible. Guardianship is expensive and very inconvenient and you even have to go back to court to end the guardianship, whereas a power of attorney you can just rip up and throw away. Good luck.
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