Can you become a guardian of your younger brother or sister?

When children are under the age of majority — 19 years old in British Columbia — their guardians are responsible to care for and raise them.

Usually, a child's parents are his or her guardians. Other people, including brothers and sisters who are 19 or over, can apply to court to become a guardian.

You'll have to show the court that it's in your younger sister's or brother's best interests for you to become his or her guardian. A court could appoint you as the only guardian or they could make you the guardian along with another person or an existing guardian.

The only thing the court will consider is what's in the child's best interests. Having a close relationship with your brother or sister will definitely help, but that's only one of the factors the court will look at. For a complete list of what the court will consider to decide what's in your brother or sister's best interests, see our fact sheet Best interests of the child.

The information and self-help guides on this website are addressed mainly to parents, but the process they describe would be the same for an older sibling. For more information, see also our fact sheet How can you become a guardian?

To find out more about guardianship, see Parenting apart. If you're thinking about applying to court for guardianship of a younger sibling, speak to a lawyer first. For information about how to find a lawyer, see Who can help.

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