Kinship Legal Guardianship – “KLG”

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Kinship Legal Guardianship is a DCP&P term which describes the legal guardianship of a child, by a family member or a family friend, that does not result in the termination of the biological parent’s parental rights. Contact the DCPP defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm for immediate assistance at (908)-356-6900. Our seasoned trial lawyers know how the system works and how to best protect your rights in these cases. If you or a loved one has an issue with child protective services in Somerset County NJ including in Somerville, Hillsborough, Bridgewater, and Bernardsville, don’t wait. Contact the Tormey Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.

Here is an example of a DCP&P case we successfully handled for a client in Somerset County, at the Superior Court in Somerville NJ.

What is Kinship Legal Guardianship (known as “KLG”) in New Jersey DCP&P Cases?

FAQ: What is KLG?

The legal guardianship of a child, by a family member or a family friend, that does not result in the termination of the biological parent’s parental rights.

KLG is one of the five possible permanency plans that the Division of Child Protection and Permanency may present to the Court after a child has been in the Division’s custody for twelve months. Unlike termination of parental rights, KLG does not sever the all of the legal ties between a child and a biological parent but the kinship legal guardian will have the legal authority to consent to medical and educational decisions regarding the child. In addition, unlike termination of parental rights, KLG can be modified or vacated by the Court in the future. If the Division has had custody of your child for twelve months and is seeking approval of Kinship Legal Guardianship of your child, you should contact a DCP&P defense attorney to discuss the legal consequences of KLG.

According the New Jersey Statute 3B:12A-1, et. seq., KLG is available in cases where a child cannot reside with the biological parents due to the parents’ incapacity or inability to perform the regular and expected functions of care and support and when the child is residing with kinship caregiver or family friend. Under the KLG statute, “kinship relationship” means a family friend or a person with a biological or legal relationship with the child; and “family friend” is defined as a person who is connected to a child or the child’s family by an established positive psychological or emotional relationship that is not a biological or legal relationship.

The second requirement for KLG is that adoption is neither feasible nor likely. In fact, the New Jersey Supreme Court recognized that KLG is not a substitute for adoption because KLG is not considered “as permanent” but provides as much permanency as possible. N.J. Div. of Youth and Family Servs. v. P.P., 180 N.J. 494 (2004). KLG is not as permanent as adoption because KLG can be vacated by the Court based upon clear and convincing evidence that the parental incapacity or inability that led to KLG is no longer the case or the guardian failed or is unable to provide proper care or that KLG is no longer in the child’s best interests. In addition, although DCP&P generally endorses KLG for older children, there is no statutory or regulatory minimum age for the Court to approve KLG.

A kinship legal guardian has the same responsibilities as a birth parent would including, but not limited to: making regular and emergency medical decisions, arranging educational plans, applying for social services, and applying for college. But, a kinship legal guardian may not consent to the adoption of the child or a name changes. In addition, under a KLG order, the biological parents retain certain rights such as the ability to consent to adoption, the obligation to pay child support, and the right to ongoing contact and visitation with the child. In fact, visitation rights can be enforced by the court under a KLG order. Another aspect of KLG is that it does not impact child’s eligibility to inheritance or insurance benefits from the biological parent. Finally, unlike adoption, KLG terminates automatically at the child’s eighteenth birthday or when the child is no longer enrolled in a secondary education program.

Somerset County DYFS Defense Lawyers Near Me

The bottom line is that although KLG does not terminate a biological parent’s parental rights, it still eliminates the parent’s role in the child’s everyday life and impacts certain parental rights. If you are involved in DCP&P litigation and have not already consulted with an experienced DCP&P defense attorney and the Division is proposing the permanency plan of KLG for your child, you should contact a DCP&P defense lawyer to discuss your case and the consequences of KLG. Contact our DYFS lawyers now at (908)-356-6900.

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