Conservatorship and guardianship are two different things. The state defines these terms.
Here is some information about the differences between these two legal terms.
Conservatorships and divorces
Conservatorship is similar to custody in other states. Conservators are responsible for one or more children’s medical care and residency. A district judge appoints conservators to care for children. These are very common in divorces where the court strives to reach one of the following conservatorship options:
- Joint managing conservators
- Sole managing conservator
- Sole possessory conservator
Additionally, a judge may apply conservatorship principles when appointing a conservator to help a person with disabilities.
Conservatorships and irresponsible parents
Conservatorships may also come into play when divorces are not present. Typically, this happens when parents are irresponsible or unprepared to care for their children. Often, this comes into play when one or both parents are drug addicts. In these cases, the court may appoint conservatorship status to a grandparent or other relative.
Guardianships and probate law
On the other hand, guardianship occurs at the county court level. Like conservatorship, it is not strictly for children. It is also applicable to disabled adults. Typically, guardianship proceedings take place after parents die. When parents die without an estate plan, the process can be complex and lengthy. Most parents appoint someone as the guardian of their child and their child’s finances, although these can be two different people.
Many situations can leave individuals with questions about conservatorship and guardianship. The key is to understand the difference between the two. Then, if there are still questions about the difference, consider contacting someone for help with the concepts.