Kinship Guardianship as a Permanency Option - Puerto Rico

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Definitions

Note: In the laws of Puerto Rico, the term 'tutorship' means the same as 'guardianship.'

Purpose of Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 31, §§ 661; 662

The object of tutorship is the custody of the person and property, or of only the property, of such persons who are incapable of governing themselves. Minors not lawfully emancipated may be subject to guardianship.

A Guardian's Rights and Responsibilities

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 31, §§ 782; 783; 783a

Children under tutorship owe respect and obedience to their tutor. The tutor may correct them in moderation.

The tutor shall:

  • Feed and educate the child, in accordance with his or her condition and in strict conformity with the provisions made by his or her parents, or in defect thereof, with those adopted by the Court of First Instance
  • Endeavor, by all the means that the fortune of the child admits, that they acquire or recover their capacity
  • Make an inventory of all the real and personal property to which the tutorship extends, within the term fixed for this purpose by the court
  • Request, in due time, the judicial authorization for all that is required by this title

The tutor shall administrate the interests of the child as a good head of a family should and is liable for any harm that could result from noncompliance of his or her duties.

Qualifying the Guardian

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 31, § 741

Tutorship shall not belong to:

  • Those subject to tutorship
  • Those who have been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor that implies moral depravation
  • Those sentenced to a term of imprisonment, until the sentence expires
  • Those legally removed from a former tutorship due to a failure to carry out their obligations or deprived of patria potestas
  • Persons of bad conduct or who have no visible means of support
  • Bankrupts and insolvents not rehabilitated
  • Those who, at the time the tutorship is conferred, have a suit pending with the child or formerly had such suit, regarding such child's civil status
  • Those in litigation or who have litigated with the child over the ownership of his or her property, unless the father, or in a proper case, the mother, knowing thereof, shall have, nevertheless, named them tutor in their wills
  • Those who owe the child important sums of money, unless, having a knowledge of such debts, the father, or in a proper case, the mother, shall have named them tutor in their wills
  • A testamentary tutor who neglects the fulfillment of the requirements indispensable to begin the exercise of their charges
  • Persons not residing in Puerto Rico
  • Those who have made any vicious and unjustified accusation against the child or criminal charge against his or her ascendants or collaterals up to the fourth degree

Procedures for Establishing Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 31, §§ 701; 731

In default of a testamentary tutor appointed by either of the parents, the legitimate tutorship of an unemancipated child shall belong to the person the court may designate from among the persons mentioned below, keeping in mind the child's best interests and welfare:

  • Any of the grandparents
  • Any of the brothers or sisters

When there is no testamentary tutor or a person designated by law for the exercise of the vacant tutorship, or if the person designated does not meet the legal qualifications, the Court of First Instance shall appoint a person of known probity as tutor in all cases involving § 662 of this title.

Contents of a Guardianship Order

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Modification/Revocation of Guardianship

Citation: Ann. Laws Tit. 31, §§ 742; 743; 744; 791

The following shall be removed from guardianship:

  • Those who, after such guardianship is submitted, come under any of the cases of disability mentioned in § 741 above
  • Those who assume the administration of the guardianship without having given bond
  • Those who do not carry out the inventory within the term and in the manner established by law, or do not do it faithfully
  • Those who do not behave properly in the discharge of their guardianship
  • Those who incur any of the grounds established or any of the circumstances stated in title 31, §§ 634a and 634b (grounds for termination of patria potestas)

The Court of First Instance shall not declare the tutors' incompetence, without summoning and hearing them, if they appear. When the Court of First Instance has declared the incompetence of the tutor, the resolution or order shall be deemed to be final, and steps shall be taken to fill the vacant tutorship, according to the law.

Guardianship ends when the child reaches age 21, is adopted, or is emancipated, with the limitations established by law.

Kinship Guardianship Assistance

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Links to Agency Policies

Agency policies are not available online.