Technically, no.  This surprises many parents—what’s the point of making guardian nominations of the court is not required to follow them?  Ultimately, the courts job is to determine what is in the best interests of the child.  This means that in almost all cases, the judge will defer to your guardian nomination assuming that you knew and understood what was in the best interests of the child.  But, the law does give the judge discretion to override your nomination if he or she feels that the guardian you selected is unfit to serve as guardian.

While at first this might frustrate you as a parent, the reality is that it’s meant to protect your child.  Let’s say, for example, that you nominated a sister to be the potential guardian of your children.  At the time you made the nomination, she was married, had a great job and was a great role model for your child.  Now a few years have passed and you are in a car accident and never updated your guardian nominations.  In the years since you chose your sister as guardian, she has lost her job, her marriage fell apart and she developed a severe alcohol problem.  If that were the case, wouldn’t you want your judge to have the discretion to override your guardian nomination?