A guardian is an adult you nominate to take care of your child in case both parents, or anyone else with parental responsibility, have passed away before your child is 18.
What are a guardian's responsibilities?
If required to act, a guardian takes on parental responsibility for a child. That means that they're responsible for the child's day-to-day care, as well as making decisions about upbringing, education, health and welfare.
Is my partner automatically a guardian?
If your partner has parental responsibility then they can automatically carry on taking care of your child.
If your partner does not have parental responsibility and you'd like them to care for your child it's important to appoint them as a guardian. This does not mean that they'd automatically take care of your child, for instance if there was another surviving parent.
All mothers have parental responsibility, as do fathers who are married to the mother at the time of birth or listed on the child's birth certificate.
How many guardians should I choose for my children?
It’s advisable to choose one guardian to look after your children, or two if they’re a couple. If your children live together now, you should choose the same guardians for all of them so you don’t accidentally split them up.
Things to consider when choosing guardians
Choosing guardians is never easy, but certain things should be considered to help you make the best choice:
their values - whether religious, cultural or spiritual - if you'd like your child to be raised in a particular way, it's important that your nominated guardian shares these values
responsibility - how capably they can care and provide for your child
familiarity - whether your child knows (and likes them) already
location - do they live nearby? If not your child may be removed from any of your other friends of family who they know already
other children - does your guardian have other children? Would that cause any problems or would it be a positive?
Above all else, when you decide on someone you'd like to do the job, make sure you discuss it with them and that they feel comfortable with it.