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What is a Ward of the State

A young ward of the state with a sad face

A Ward of the State, or Ward of Court, is when the court obtains liability for protection of a child. A Ward of Law is when an individual is put under a protection of a legal guardian. When someone becomes a Ward of the State, are many legal implications that can lead to questions about rights and obligations. Listed below are just a few of the many questions answered by Family Lawyers on JustAnswer.

Some states use "ward of the state" synonymously with "ward of the court", usually referring to a foster child in the custody of a public child welfare agency. In other states, however, this refers to individuals who are or were incarcerated. Incarceration does not make one independent. One needs to be careful to distinguish between "confinement" and "legal custody," as the two are different concepts that should not be confused.

When a ward of the state becomes 18 can the county/state be sued for an adoption that was not approved?

In most situations it might be difficult to establish any unlawful or illegal activity. The individual would need to provide legal evidence showing that the other party took an enticement to avoid an adoption or was bribed into the adoption.

Can a parent or legal guardian make a 17-year-old a ward of state to get them into drug rehab?

Case Details: The teenager refuses rehab to help with drug problems.

It is not up to the parents or legal guardians to make the child a ward of the state. They would have to be considered an out of control teenager by the state or a young adult that seems to be a menace to self and/or others. Before the state can put one in the state’s custody, the teenager would typically have broken laws and shown that there is no hope for change other than being made a ward of the state.

How long does probate take after a ward’s death?

If there is an undersized estate (fewer than $100,000) then probate actions in the state of California and several other states can be simplified. In order to do this, the executor would normally need to inquire with the local probate court to utilize the basic process and apply for a written request. California also has a course of action that allows heirs to pass up probate when it’s less than $100,000. The length of probate varies depending on each individual situation.

In the state of Colorado, how does a parent lose parental rights and how does a child become a ward of the state?

If a parent misses a court arrangement or scheduled hearing regarding the child, the parent may lose their rights making the child a ward of the state.

Many times, if a child is found to be so unruly or out of control and it looks as if state custody is in the best interest of the child, the court may seek appropriate action and place them in the state’s care. There are many reasons that children and adults could become wards of the state. Many parents and legal guardians have questions about the legality of becoming a ward of the state. When these questions arise, knowing experienced Family Lawyers are available can ease your worries. 

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