Difference Between Conservatorship and Guardianship

family law firms grand rapids

Difference Between Conservatorship and Guardianship

  • By: Marketing Team
  • 10 June 2020

According to recent statistics, the state of Michigan is currently seeing its lowest divorce rates since the 1960s. However, in our state, including Grand Rapids, divorce is still a very common procedure that impacts everything from finances to family. Since Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, the court is required to proceed if one spouse wishes to file for divorce.

While property and asset distribution can certainly complicate matters even for a couple without children, divorcing when you have kids can look like a legal nightmare, a labyrinth of complicated documents and potential custody battles.

Custody, Conservatorship, and Guardianship

Custody as it is defined by Michigan law falls into two categories: legal and physical. Custodial arrangements are always designed to best meet the needs of the child. If you are concerned about your spouse falling behind on child support or trying to pursue sole custody, it is in your best interest to seek help from a divorce attorney rather than risk losing control.

In many cases, custody and child support arrangements are simple, with the legal and physical of the child going to a biological parent. However, there are circumstances in which this is not the safest or healthiest option for the child in question. In these cases, he or she is placed under the legal and physical care of another adult with close ties to the immediate family, such as a close friend or relative who is appointed as a legal guardian or conservator by the court.

Adults Requiring Guardianship and Conservatorship

In other cases, an adult child, relative or friend of the family is deemed incapacitated or incompetent by the court. In situations like this, a conservator or a guardian will be required to assume certain responsibilities over the adult.

What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator? Simply put, one relates to health and personal care, and the other, finances. A legal guardian makes personal healthcare-related decisions on behalf of the incapacitated adult, while a conservator handles the affairs of the estate.

Custody proceedings can be painful for families and children thrust into the crossfire of their parents’ separation. It can also be deeply traumatizing for adults with incapacitation who require the guardianship or conservatorship of another adult. Fortunately, in Grand Rapids, family law attorneys provide assistance to families through all stages of the process. Reach out if you are interested in speaking with a reputable family law attorney.