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Amber E.
Amber E., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1482
Experience:  Experienced practitioner in family law, including divorce, custody, and domestic violence cases.
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My friends children are in the legal custody of their mothers

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My friend's children are in the legal custody of their mother's parents. Their guardian (maternal grandmother) has been threatening to abandon the children with my friend. Are there legal ramifications for a guardian who abandons their wards?
Yes, when a legal custodian or guardian abandons the children, they can be stripped of their position. Once brought to its attention, the court can modify the order and appoint a new caregiver in their place. If the initial appointment was made through some child protective services intervention, then normally they will take the necessary steps to remove the children and place them elsewhere as soon as they are notified. If the appointment was through the courts, an interested party can file to modify custody or guardianship and seek to have him or herself appointed. Any legal action involving the children would likely require the assistance of an attorney, because the cases are usually sealed, so anyone desiring to take the step of being put in place of the guardian would need to retain one as soon as possible to initiate the action.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are there any legal charges that can be brought upon a guardian who abandons their ward? Or just a strip of guardianship?

That would depend on whether the children being endangered or put at risk of harm or neglect. If, for example, the children were taken by the state from an abusive parent, then returning the children to that parent would subject them to abuse. In that case, yes, there are criminal charges pertaining to neglect that could be brought against the guardian. The juvenile court could also hold the guardian in contempt and have her jailed as a penalty. However, if the guardian is simply leaving the children with the parent who is not neglectful, abusive or irresponsible, or another responsible adult, then no, criminal charges and/or jail time are unlikely.
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