How Can I Help My Autistic Child After 18th Birthday?
Guardian Advocate Appointment Can Provide You and Your Special Needs Child With Just Enough Support
Families with young adults approaching their eighteenth birthday may find the young person is not quite ready to enter adulthood without some continuing help. Parents often desire to offer assistance to the young person while encouraging the continued growth. How long this help is needed depends upon each particular person. The use of Guardian Advocate appointment is voluntary and can continue a short time or it can continue indefinitely.
One main difference between a full guardianship and a guardian advocate is the person needing assistance is not found to be “incompetent.” This is an important consideration as the young adult may progress to full independence and to have the label of incompetent applied will likely make finding a job, renting an apartment, buying a car, or other typical adult activities harder if not impossible.
Full guardianship removes rights from the person (referred to as a Ward) and assigns those rights to the “Guardian.” Guardianship requires an evaluation by a team of three professionals including a psychiatrist – after which each one recommends a status of competent, partially competent, or incompetent. To undo this assignment of partial or full incompetence later in life, there is a court process, at least one evaluation by a team of three, and a hearing where the Judge makes the decision whether to restore competence. If you have a special needs child you do not want to seek guardianship without first exploring if you and your child will benefit from the less restrictive Guardianship Advocate process.
|Requires an attorney at all times||Yes||No|
|Requires an attorney to set up||Yes||No|
|Determination of incompetence||Yes||No|
|Easy to Undo the Appointment||No||Yes|
|Must disclose when buying a car, renting, or other contractual situations||Yes||Not Always|
|Effects the adult’s ability to get a job||Yes||Not Always|
|Provides the Ability for Guardian or Advocate to Make Decisions for the Adult||Yes||Yes|
|Less Restrictive method to help the adult in need||No||Yes|
|Requires Financial and Social Reports to be filed annually||Yes||No|
|Requires court order to release or spend the adult’s funds||Yes||Not Always|
|Most expensive method to provide help||Yes||Less|
Florida Statute §393 governs the persons and processes involved in guardianship and guardian advocacy. It describes the necessary basis to show incapacity, the traits a guardian advocate must have, the requirements for guardians to serve, and the responsibilities of the various parties – disabled adult/at risk/special needs, the guardian advocate applicant, and the court.
The court system provides a general guide to assist families with special needs children and adults through the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit site. This is enough information to apply for and successfully receive an appointment of Guardian Advocate. If you find it overwhelming or you desire legal counsel for the process you can call Rhoden Law Group and speak to attorney Bonnie Rhoden. Bonnie’s initial phone consultations are always a courtesy. You can feel free to ask your questions and receive solid, legal advice before deciding how you want to proceed.
Please call the office 321-549-3162 or email using the Contact form on this site.