For some Iowa families, the choice of a guardian might seem relatively clear. A godmother, uncle, parent or other trusted individual might seem like the perfect person to take care of your child should you become unable to do so. However, you might not be considering every angle of the issue.

You would be no worse off if, after your analysis of the situation, you end up making the same decision you intended to make when you started. If the investigation process uncovers potential risks in your choice, you could save your child and your proposed caretaker both considerable stress should the unthinkable occur.

FindLaw provides a good overview of some of the concerns you might face when choosing a guardian to take care of your child, including:

  • The preference of the person you want to become the guardian
  • Criminal background, financial status and life expectancy of the caretaker
  • The character and lifestyle of the individual in question

Perhaps the most important of all of these is the willingness of the guardian to take care of your child. It would be well within your ability, in most cases, to acquire this information. Furthermore, the court is unlikely to assign a guardianship to someone who does not wish to take care of your child. 

Courts are also often reluctant to allow those who have extensive criminal records to take on wards, so your choice should have a good legal standing. If you are unsure of a candidate’s background, you could ask the individual directly or perform a public records search. Please do not view this as legal advice. It is simply general information.