What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is an order of the court to give custody and/or the responsibility of management of property of a minor child to a person other than their parents. 

When is a guardianship necessary?

A guardianship is often called for when a parent is unable to provide adequate care for their child, has abandoned the child, or is deceased. Some examples of when guardianships have been sought out are listed below.

When one or both parents have had the following occur:

  • Arrested
  • Drug Abuse
  • Child Abuse and Endangerment (Children and Family Services may become involved which would potentially call for a dependency case)
  • Death
  • Rehab
  • Serious Physical or Mental Illness

Due to the absence of the parent (biological or adoptive), the person providing care to the child will need legal authority to make medical and educational decisions or to manage the child’s finances. In a guardianship, the parent retains their parental rights, although they may lose custodial rights. Guardianships are never forever and can be terminated for various reasons.

How is a guardianship established?

The probate court is the court designated to hear guardianship matters. The California Probate Code governs guardianships. The California Judicial Counsel has developed forms that get filed to establish or terminate a guardianship.  If you feel you need assistance with establishing or terminating a guardianship, call our office attorneys. We will be happy to assist!