A couple or single parent may need to ask someone else to have temporary guardianship over their children if the parents need to be away for a specified period of time. This guardianship is temporary, and may be given to a friend or family member. 

A temporary guardianship letter is a legal document and needs to be written correctly. This type of letter is often used by a single parent who does not have a co-parent to take care of their children if one parent needs to be away for some time.


Grandparents may be able to give a child a loving home if the parents are away, but a temporary guardianship letter is essential in the event the child requires medical attention or needs to be admitted to a hospital. Without this document, even the grandparents will not be able to get medical help.

The most common reasons temporary guardianship is granted is because the parent or parents are:
• Going through divorce proceedings
• Going away for work, jail or medical treatment
• Going on a military assignment

Before writing the letter, it is recommended to talk to the temporary guardians first. If a grandparent is not available, then the parent needs to select a trusted adult who has the facilities to care for a child and with whom the child is comfortable.

Once the trusted person is selected, he or she should be formally asked if they would be willing to take on the responsibility.

All of the legal ramifications should be made very clear, and the trusted adult should understand all the details including food allergies, sleeping arrangements and the administration of over-the-counter medications.

When all of the conditions are met, the arrangement can be made formal with a letter giving temporary guardianship.

State The Reason For The Letter

The letter should be addressed to the person who is being granted temporary custody. It should state the reason for the letter and give permission to the addressee to have guardianship over the sender’s child or children in the beginning.

The child’s full name should be stated. The letter should also state the exact dates for which the guardianship is being granted. For example, it should state from DATE to DATE. 

The letter needs to give details about what the guardian can and cannot do. The specific reason the guardianship is being granted should be stated as well as specific permission for medical treatments, school trips or any other activity that may be required during the time period.

The letter should also state where the parent or parents will be and give a contact number or address. It should contain a doctor’s and dentist’s name and contact information. It is recommended for the parents to speak to the child’s doctor, dentist or school and give a copy of the guardianship letter, so the concerned parties are notified in advance. 

Research Your State Laws

The parent should also consider the amount of time they will be away and write accordingly. If they are going on a vacation for a few days or weeks, the letter may not need to be very formal, but if they will be away for extended periods such as six months, the letter should be very formal and explicit.

There are state laws that determine how long this type of letter is valid. In most states, a time period longer than six months requires a different type of documentation. 

Here are sample temporary guardianship letters. Since it is a legal document, it should be written in formal business-letter style and sent by certified mail, so both the sender and receiver have a record of when it was sent and received.

It is not mandatory, but the letter may also be notarized as an extra legal precaution. 

Sample 1 – Temporary Guardianship Letter For Medical

Parent’s Name
Parent’s Address
City, State, Zip Code


Guardian’s Name
Guardian’s Address
City, State, Zip Code

RE: Temporary Guardianship of minor child, Name of Child

This letter is a legally binding document that gives Name of Guardian temporary guardianship of Name of Parent or Parent’s son, Name of Child. The guardianship will be effective from DATE to DATE. Name of Guardian will be allowed to make any decisions regarding medical treatments or other types of permission required by the child during this period.

Name of Parents will be in India on business during the time given in this letter and will not be easily available to make decisions if any medical treatment is required for their son. The parents can be reached at Address of Hotel, Phone Number of Hotel or by email at Email Address. 

The child’s doctor is Name of Doctor and her phone number is Phone Number. The child’s dentist is Name of Dentist and his phone number is Phone Number. A copy of this letter will be given to both doctors.


Parent or Parent’s Signature
Printed Name of Parent or Parents

Sample 2 – Temporary Guardianship Letter For Grandparents

William and Elizabeth Smith
120 Jisco West Rd.
Jackson, Ohio 45640


Kimberly and Jamie Harr
98745 St. Rt. 149
Rosemount, Ohio 45662

Re: Temporary Guardianship of Minor Child, Adreauna Smith

From [DATE till DATE], William and Elizabeth Smith give temporary custody of their daughter, Andrea Ford, to grandparents, Jamie and Kimberly Harr. This Temporary Guardianship Letter will serve as a legal and binding document that will allow them to obtain medical treatment and to make any decisions regarding the needs of the child for this period. 

William and Elizabeth will be in Europe on business for the dates listed above. They will not be able to provide medical treatment and see to the needs of their child during these time periods. Trusting in good faith, Jamie and Kimberly Harr, they allow temporary guardianship so they may make decisions regarding their child’ care.

The address of the hostel that the Smith’s will be stay in is 7890 Piccadilly Square, London, England. The phone number there is +44 20 8988 8300. Since London is five hours ahead of the United States, consideration must be made when calling. 

The child’s medical doctor is Jill Neff at McCarty Lane Pediatrics in Jackson. Their phone number is 555-286-5245. Adreauna’s dentist is Dr. Rebo at Rebo Health Professionals , and the phone number is 555-286-0989. A copy of this letter will be on file at both locations. 


William and Elizabeth Ford

By Andre Bradley

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