Differences between Guardianship and Conservatorship for Adults with Special Needs

Guardianship and conservatorship are legal arrangements that can be used to protect the rights and interests of adults with special needs. However, these arrangements can be complex and challenging to navigate.

These can provide difficult situations, particularly if the spouses did not complete the required legal proceedings for the marriage. One example of such a situation is if the past spouse of the beneficiary has died. Proof of this must be provided to the INS with the I-130 Petition.

There are often questions over the meanings of the words used to describe these preferences. Typically, lawyers will make an argument that the facts of your situation fit into a particular preference, even when they seem to be somewhat different from the plain language. The problem with this is that false hopes can be created.

There are several categories of what are defined as Family-Based Preferences. Here, there are quotas and waiting periods that apply. The first step is to determine that you do not fall into the Immediate Relative category, because you do not need this section if that category is applicable.

The US Code, which is the law (including the regulations) created by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), sets forth the definition of Immediate Relatives:

Application for Immigrant Visa: Family-Based Immigration: There is a specific limited number of Visas that will be issued by the US government each year. The way to apply for a Family Member Immigration Visa is to file an application called an I-130 Petition. Usually the US citizen files this form on behalf of the person who would like a Visa.

A Prenuptial Agreement is an agreement entered into by two parties who may be about to become spouses, for the purpose of specifying what property belongs to what party. This agreement usually provide for a division of the couple’s property in the event of a divorce.

Legal Separation Many questions arise about whether a couple can obtain a legal separation instead of a divorce, and what the differences may be in those two proceedings. Generally, separations are informal. The couple simply decides to live on their own under some informal agreement with respect to property, alimony and/or child support and custody.

Medicare has two parts and each part has its own set of rules:

Part A governs the provisions under which acute care in hospitals is rendered and also allows limited coverage for skilled nursing care, home care and hospice care. It is paid by employer and employee contributions.

The duration of conservatorships or guardianships for minors is generally limited - that is, until they turn adult age. There is an exception: unless they are mentally incompetent, then the guardianship or conservatorship may continue in its present form or a new proceeding may be required.


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