What Is Guardianship?
There is only one type of guardianship in the State of California: Guardianship of the Minor.
Guardianship of the minor occurs when a California court enters an order that someone other than the child’s biological parent(s) have custody of the child or the right to manage the child’s property (also known as their “estate”).
The process of obtaining guardianship requires the following set of events:
- Petition for appointment with all related documents be filed by the party proposing to take guardianship of the child or the child filing a petition to have a guardian appointed if the child is 12 years of age or older;
- Hearing by the court as to temporary status if necessary;
- Investigation by the court’s probate investigators and report to the court;
- Hearing by the court as to permanent status with potential trial if parents do not consent.
- Final determination by the court and if approved, yearly updates as to the status of the guardianship.
- Physical custody of the child including providing a safe place to live;
- Making legal decisions regarding the child.
If the estate is involved:
- Assure that an account is set up to keep the child’s funds separate from all of the guardians’ assets;
- Provide an accounting as to how the funds were and/or are being used for the care of the child;
- Any other accounting required by the court.
Guardianship versus Adoption
A guardian does not become the parent of the child. Thus, the biological parents, if still living, can have the right to visit the child and be involved in the child’s life. Guardians remain subject to court supervision.
Guardianship can be terminated if the parents can prove that they are fit to care for the child/children and the court finds that this is in the best interest of the child/children.
A guardian may request that the parent’s rights be terminated and request to adopt the child/children if it is in the best interests of the child/children. Termination of Parent Rights followed by adoption severs the parental tie that the child/children had with the parents. See the area of Adoption for further information.
Question: Have you had guardianship of a minor(s) for two (2) years? See the area of Adoption on how to provide the child/children with a permanent and stable home.