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What is a standby custodian in Minnesota?

Most Minnesota residents would agree that parents love their children unconditionally and will always do what's best for them. Sometimes, situations develop in a parent's life where they may not be able to take care of their children. In times like this, Minnesota parents can employ a legal method known as a standby custodian. But, what exactly is a standby custodian and what are its limitations?

Basically, a standby custodian is a competent adult who has been designated to care for another adult's minor children for a certain finite period of time, usually 60 days. Standby custodians are awarded child custody only when the specific criteria outlined in their agreement develops. This can be so if the parents must make an extended trip without their children or if one of the parents is in the hospital and the other parent is unable to care for their children.

Designating a standby custodian is pretty straightforward. All a parent needs to do is fill out a form, known as the Minnesota Designation of Standby Guardian form. In the form, the parent then specifies the conditions that must occur that would necessitate the standby custodian to assume care of the children. These conditions may include any serious medical problems or even death of the parents. Once the form is completed, it must be filed with the county of residence within 60 days of the triggering event.

It's important to remember that a standby custodian is not the same as a temporary custodian, who can care for a parent's children for up to 24 months. However, any Minnesota parent who would like to consider designating a standby custodian may want to speak to a child custody attorney in order to find out all of the legal ramifications of this type of order.

Source: outfront.org, "Legal Issues for Same-Sex Parents," Accessed March 6, 2016

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