The court will not grant guardianship for a person who simply makes poor and unhealthy choices; the person must be considered incapacitated. Before ruling a person incapacitated, the court orders an exam to assess the person’s physical, mental and functional capacity.
A presumption exists that a minor child is not capable of entering into contracts and making certain healthcare and property decisions. However, the courts have authority to rule a child is emancipated, meaning the minor is legally treated as an adult. Otherwise, the parents are typically considered a child’s guardian. If the parents can no longer care for the child — because of death, illness, neglect or abuse — the court may then appoint another guardian who assumes many of the responsibilities of a parent until the child reaches 18 years old.