Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 16.1. Courts Not of Record
Chapter 11. Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts
11/13/2018

§ 16.1-349. Definitions.

"Attending physician" means the physician who has primary responsibility for the treatment and care of a qualified parent.

"Designation" means a writing which (i) is voluntarily executed in conformance with the requirements of § 16.1-351 and signed by a parent and (ii) names a person to act as standby guardian.

"Determination of debilitation" means a written determination made by an attending physician that a qualified parent is chronically and substantially unable to care for a minor child as a result of a debilitating illness, disease or injury. Such a determination shall include the physician's medical opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, regarding the nature, cause, extent and probable duration of the parent's debilitating condition.

"Determination of incompetence" means a written determination made by the attending physician that to a reasonable degree of medical certainty a qualified parent is chronically and substantially unable to understand the nature and consequences of decisions concerning the care of a minor child as a result of a mental or organic impairment and is consequently unable to care for the child. Such a determination shall include the physician's medical opinion, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, regarding the nature, cause, extent and probable duration of the parent's incompetence.

"Parent" means a genetic or adoptive parent or parent determined in accordance with the standards set forth in § 20-49.1 or § 20-158, and includes a person, other than a parent, who has physical custody of a child and who has either been awarded custody by a court or claims a right to custody.

"Qualified parent" means a parent who has been diagnosed, as evidenced in writing, by a licensed physician to be afflicted with a progressive or chronic condition caused by injury, disease or illness from which, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, the patient cannot recover.

"Standby guardian" means a person who, in accordance with this article, is designated in writing or approved by the court to temporarily assume the duties of guardian of the person or guardian of the property, or both, of a minor child on behalf of or in conjunction with a qualified parent upon the occurrence of a triggering event. The term shall be so construed as to enable the parent to plan for the future care of a child, without terminating parental or legal rights, and to give the standby guardian the authority to act in a manner consistent with the known wishes of a qualified parent regarding the care, custody and support of the minor child.

"Triggering event" means the event upon the occurrence of which the standby guardian may be authorized to act. The triggering event shall be specified in the court order or written designation and shall be the earlier of a determination of incompetence or the death of the qualified parent. However, in the case of a standby guardian judicially approved pursuant to § 16.1-350, the triggering event may also be specified as the qualified parent's written consent to the commencement of the standby guardian's authority. In the case of a standby guardian designated pursuant to § 16.1-351, the triggering event may also be specified as (i) a determination of debilitation of the qualified parent and (ii) that parent's written consent to the commencement of the designated standby guardian's authority.

1998, c. 829.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.