What is a Guardianship?

A California guardianship is a legal proceeding where someone other than a child’s parent receives authority over property that belongs to the child – and/or custody of the child. In order for a court to appoint someone as a child’s guardian, the applicant will need to file a formal petition and other documents. The court will then need to approve that petition.

When it comes to establishing a guardianship, it is important that you understand all of your responsibilities and duties and that you follow all of the court protocols. A knowledgeable California guardianship attorney can help guide you through the process and represent you at any court hearings.

Types of Legal Guardians in California

Whenever a court authorizes an adult to care for a child, manage assets that belong to the child, or both, a guardianship exists. There are several individuals who could serve as a child’s legal guardian. Those individuals include the child’s relatives, family friends, and other interested persons who go through the petition-filing process.

Prior to filing a petition for guardianship, though, a prospective guardian should ask himself or herself several questions. Those questions include whether a guardianship is actually necessary under the circumstances, whether the child’s parents will offer consent to the guardianship, and if there are any alternatives that might be available.

A skilled California guardianship attorney can help you answer these questions. If you elect to go through with the guardianship proceeding, your lawyer can assist you throughout the entire process.

Responsibilities of Legal Guardians

Legal guardians of children in California have several responsibilities. The primary responsibilities of a guardian are to provide custody, care, shelter, clothing, and food for the child. The guardian must also protect the child and foster the child’s emotional growth and physical well-being. It is also the legal guardian’s responsibility to provide for the child’s education, as well as for his/her medical and dental needs.

The Guardianship Process

Whenever a person determines that legal guardianship is the best way to go, the first step in the process is to complete the petition with the clerk of court. In addition to filing a petition, some California counties have special forms that a potential guardian must fill out and submit. In addition, the applicant must serve the petition on certain individuals before the court will set a hearing in the case.

In addition to completing and filing a guardianship petition, the court might require the completion of an investigation before it makes a determination as to guardianship. If an investigation occurs, the investigator will provide the court with a report, and the court will then reach its decision. In some instances, the court might decide that insufficient grounds exist to establish a guardianship. However, at other times, the court might go ahead and grant the petition.

In any case, when it comes to filing a guardianship petition and attending court hearings, it is important that you have a knowledgeable California guardianship attorney by your side. Your attorney will be able to advocate for your position and work to convince the court that it should grant the guardianship.

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