Being a child's guardian involves spending time caring for the child, and being responsible for decisions that affect them.

Guardianship: Parenting time and parental responsibilities

Learn how you can make a parenting agreement about how you will share parenting time and parental responsibilities after you separate.


Having custody means your child lives with you at least some of the time, and you have rights and responsibilities to make decisions about them. Find out more about when the term "custody" is used and the types of custody arrangements. 

Custody is a term only used in federal law, so it might not apply to your situation.

How can you become a child's guardian?

Anyone can apply to become a child's guardian but the court will only consider what's best for the child. Find out how to apply to become a guardian.

If you're 19 or over and want to become a guardian of your underage siblings, see also Can you be a guardian of your younger siblings?

What will happen if you die or can't take care of your child?

If you die or can't take care of your children, what happens to them depends on what plans you've made for them. Find out what you can do to make back-up plans for your child's future care.