Natural Guardian Law and Legal Definition

Natural guardian is either the father or mother, recognized by law as the lawful guardian, as opposed to an appointed guardian, who is named by a court or a will to care for a child under legal age. Even though in common law, father is the guardian by nature and the mother only after the father's death, most states have given both parents equal rights of guardianship over their children. For example, in New York a married woman is a joint guardian of her children with her husband, with equal powers, rights and duties in regard to them. Either the father or mother may in the life-time of them both, by last will duly executed, appoint the other the guardian of the person and property of such child, during its minority. Either the father or mother may in the life-time of them both by last will duly executed, and with the written consent of the other duly acknowledged, appoint the other and a third person to be the guardians of the person and property of such child during its minority, and in making such appointment shall not be limited to the appointment of the same person or persons in both capacities. [NY CLS Dom Rel § 81]