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Is a godparent the same thing as a legal guardian?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Guardianships

Some New York parents name individuals to be godparents to their children. You may believe that a godparent is someone who will act as a guardian to a child if the biological parents die. While some parents want godparents to fill this role, the truth is that godparents are not the same as legal guardians.

There are some important facts regarding godparents and why they are not automatic legal guardians.

The cultural role of godparents

FindLaw explains that godparents are like cultural mentors. The concept of a godparent goes back to the early days of the Christian faith when godparents would speak for infants during a baptism. Today, godparents guide children in religion or tradition, with some even taking on mentorship roles apart from religion.

However, the role of a godparent is not a legal one. Godparents have no power under the law to take over as parents in the event the legal parents die or are otherwise unavailable. A court may name the godparents as guardians for your children, but this is not guaranteed.

Making godparents legal guardians

If you do want a godparent to have the responsibility for caring for your children in the event the worst happens to you and your spouse, you will have to undertake steps to make them legal guardians by law. You might use your will to designate the godparents as caretakers for your children if you die or become incapacitated.

It is a good thing if you feel that having godparents for your children is the best choice for rearing your loved ones if necessary. Be sure that New York law recognizes your desires as legally valid.