Legal Guardians -- What Do You Look For?

Krista - posted on 02/09/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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This is a spinoff of the "will" thread.

We've put off making a will, primarily because we have NO idea who to assign as a legal guardian for our son.

My husband is an only child. Our parents are aging. I have a sister, and I know that she would love Sam and raise him well, but she's a financial mess and her romantic life is just as bad, leading to a household that's really just not at ALL stable. And if my son has to go through the horror of losing his parents, that's quite enough instability as it is, thanks.

We've considered friends, but worry that they might not feel as obligated to make sure that Sam still spends time with his family.

How did you guys pick guardians for your kids? Did you pick friends? Family? What led you to your decision?

Does being a family member trump everything else? Or does having a stable household trump everything else?

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[deleted account]

If you are not comfortable with any of your family, then friends would be more than okay...assuming they whole heartedly agree to the responsibility. If you aren't comfortable with your sister raising your son, then she shouldn't be his gaurdian. You are right to think about how living in an unstable environment would affect him after a tragedy like losing both parents.

I'm very blessed in this case. We know exactly who our children would go to, it's just not in writing yet. My husband's sister would take them. She and her husband are very financially and emotionally stable. Of course, if she took in our kids, she'd have 5 kids since she already has 3 of her own. That's the only downside...I'd feel it might be a bit of a burden to raise five children. But if anyone can...she can. I know she'd do right by my children...make sure they spend plenty of time with my side of the family, handle the insurance money well, raise them as I would (mostly anyway, no two people parent exactly alike).

Our other options and why we didnt' chose them:
Grandparents - neither set would be a bad choice...at all. But my husband and I agreed that we'd want our parents to enjoy being grandparents and not be burdened with raising children again. Of course we'd chose them if we didn't have siblings we trusted.

My sister is currently finishing her Masters degree. She would love and care for my children. She may not be a bad choice in the future...once she's financially stable and married. We may list her as a second choice. But right now she's not at the stage in her life to raise children.

My BIL and his wife. NO!!! Last choice. We'll leave it at that.

[deleted account]

Teresa - It gives us that added incentive, I can tell you! Just the thought of our oldest going to live with her bio mom makes my stomach ache! What's worst about it is that I KNOW the bio mom wouldn't let our oldest see her sisters anymore and all my girls are incredibly close. It would make a horrible situation even worse for all of them :(

[deleted account]

Holly, my kids are my 'life insurance' policy. I do NOT want them raised by my ex and his wife, so me dying before my son turns 18 simply isn't an option. ;)

Mary - posted on 02/09/2011

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No, I don't think being family trumps everything else. To me, the most important thing is who would not only love your child as their own, but would also raise them in as similar a manner as you would.



I am lucky to have a sister with whom I am close, and loves my child unconditionally, just as I do hers. My husband has three sisters as well, and although I know they adore her as well, they all live 5 hours away, and are not in the same financial position that my sister is. I'm also not as confident that they would be as conscientious as my sister and BIL about making sure that Molly saw the other half of her family.



I am the legal guardian for my best friend's 7 y/o daughter. She is an only child, and her husband has one sister with whom my friend has a strained relationship. Although this aunt loves my friend's child, she has raised her own daughters in a way that is is vastly different. I know my friend's parents well, as well as her husband's. If I needed to raise this girl (whom I simply adore, and helped bring into this world!), I would consider including both her mother and father's family in her upbringing an integral part of my commitment to her. It actually wouldn't be a huge challenge; we already spend a fair number of holidays together as it is, and any big "family" events usually already include each other's parents and siblings as it is. (although that SIL has been fairly bitchy to me since she's known about who would get the girl in the event of the parent's demise).



I think you have to choose who you feel would best meet Sam's needs throughout his life, and that is not always family.

Lady Heather - posted on 02/09/2011

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We've picked family because we have a couple of appropriate options that way. After my brother bought his house we've decided to name him and his wife (they just had a teeny apartment before). We wanted someone who would raise our daughter similarly to us, make sure she sees family from both sides, could take her right away if need be and basically would see as little change in her life as is possible.

I know when I was in high school we would have gone to a family friends' house and that made more sense than family at the time. We had no family members in town so our lives would have been insanely disrupted.

[deleted account]

We picked my parents as legal guardians.

My hubby's dad has no interest in raising the kids,

my hubby's mom is a financial and emotional mess,

my sister-in-law is... well, hmmm... she's a hot mess and can't even take care of her own kid who she abandoned, so she was never even in the consideration pool,

my brother is just starting out in his life and wouldn't be able to handle the stress,

and my sister has 2 kids of her own and I wouldn't want to add anything to her plate (especially since she's a SAHM and her hubby's salary is just enough for them right now).



My parents are happy with our decision and would love to raise our kids if something were to happen to us. They are financially stable, they live in a beautiful home where our kids would never want for anything (besides us of course), and it would be the most stable place for them if something were to happen to us.



I never even considered any of my friends since we have so much family, but I don't think any of them are stable enough financially right now for us to consider them.



Unfortunately, our oldest would go to her biological mother (NOT a good thing...).

Stifler's - posted on 02/09/2011

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Having a stable household and not being burdened by my kid would trump everything. It's a hard decision and we haven't picked anyone because the people I'd love to raise my kids instead of me have 7 kids already and the others have 3. There is one couple trying for kids that would make awesome parents and have had no luck whom I'd love to leave my kids to. But we haven't asked or agreed on who yet.

[deleted account]

I struggle witht his exact thing myself.
My parents couldn't look after my kids because my mum is bi -polar and my father is her carer. She can handle the kids for a couple of days at her best.
The kids don't know my husbands Family all that well and due to the fact that his mother has never called or sent cards or done anything for them i wouldn't be comfortable leaving them in her care. ( there is heaps to that story)
His Aunty would be a good candidate for it but her youngest is 10 and she is looking after he father who is high dependancy care.

So it leaves us with His sister or friends.

His sister i would consider except her kids are spoilt rotten and i'm not a fan of the way she is raising them. She favours 1 child over the other 2. She has 3 kids so 3 more would be so hard. But on the plus i know they would be loved greatly and looked after.
Friends aren't really an option for us because we don't have any mutual friends, I have mine he has his. ( we had ours but they lied to me) I have 2 friends i would leave my kids with.
The issue with leaving them with any of these for us is that someone would miss out. My family don't socialise with his because of my mothers issues. My mother would chuck a psaz if i even thought about leaving the kids in the care of his family, She chucked one at me when i said we were 'thinking' about moving closer to his. It's just not something i want to deal with with her.

Not sure if any of that helped or not.

[deleted account]

We had a list of couples (3 or 4 of them) that we would've considered. The only one that was a family member would be my ex's step-cousin (they were raised like brothers). Him and his wife are at the top of my list. Everyone else on the list were friends that we liked and liked their parenting styles... also Christian and married. Wouldn't GUARANTEE stability (obviously, look at me), but those 2 criteria are extremely important to me.

Tara - posted on 02/09/2011

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Well my ex is legal guardian of my girls if I die.
If Steve and I were to perish now, he would go to his grandmas.
My oldest two would go to my mom's.
If we die later in life when Riley is still little, my son would take him. There's 14 years difference.
I don't think family trumps everything but I do think a stable home is important but not the end all and be all, many a child has been raised well and loved immensely under some unfavourable conditions. It's what is in their heart that counts, but that's not to say they should get the kids if they live in a one room rental and have no job etc.
It's balance again...

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