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How do you name a guardian for your child in New York?

If you have an immigration issue, you may have to temporarily or permanently leave the United States. If this occurs, you may wish for your child to stay in New York with a trusted friend or family member. 

Follow these steps to name a guardian for your child in New York. This person will have the right to make legal decisions for your child, including choices about education and medical care, if you cannot do so. 

File a petition

You must submit legal paperwork naming the guardian to either Surrogate’s Court or Family Court in your county. If you also want this person to manage property your child owns, such as a trust, you must file in Surrogate’s Court. This applies only for property worth at least $10,000. In this case, the guardian will manage the funds on behalf of your child with court oversight. 

Provide consent

The court will schedule a guardianship hearing. Both parents must consent for the court to name a guardian. If your child is age 14 or older and not mentally, physically or developmentally disabled, he or she must also give consent. 

If the court agrees that all parties give consent, the judge will issue a document called letters of guardianship. This provides the details about the arrangement. 

You can complete this process in advance by naming a standby guardian. With this process, the guardian will only have power to make decisions for the child if you get deported or otherwise become unable to care for him or her. 


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