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Guardianship in California: A Complete Guide
Jul, 14 2017

The guardianship laws in California cover a variety of situations. These laws govern adoption, and guardianship of a person or an estate. There are certain requirements that must be met to apply for guardianship in California. This article will be a complete guide to the entire process. Also, when applying for guardianship, you will want to consult with an attorney.

The Two Types of Guardianship

Guardianship of a Person

In this situation, the guardian obtains all of the parental rights of a child. This means that the guardian has all of the legal responsibilities for the child’s wellbeing. The Guardian also has full legal custody of the child and is responsible for all of the decisions about the child’s health. Anyone can apply to be a guardian. Family members, grandparents, family friends, or anyone else can apply to become a guardian.

The responsibilities of a guardian are as follows:

  • Shelter, food, and clothing as well as safety and protection.
  • Medical care.
  • Emotional and physical growth.
  • Education and any special needs.

Being responsible for the child also means that you may be liable for any intentional damage the child may cause.

When a Guardian is the Right Choice

In determining the need of a guardian, the court will consider many factors. While courts want to keep children with their parents, it isn’t always possible in every case. The court will take into consideration what is best for the child and not what is best for the parents or guardian. The following situations with one or both parents can result in a transfer of the child’s guardianship:

  • Serious mental or physical issues.
  • Military service that requires going overseas.
  • Long jail sentences.
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse as well as a history of physical, mental, or emotional abuse of the child.
  • Entering a long-term rehab facility.
  • The court will also consider any other circumstances that may not allow a parent to properly care for a child.

If you are unsure about how to proceed with guardianship in California, an attorney can help. Contact Stockton California guardian attorney, Erica Bansmer today to learn about your options. Attorney Bansmer has years of experience dealing with guardianship cases and can help you decide on the best way to move forward with your case.

Guardianship of an Estate

The other type of guardianship is becoming a guardian of an estate. This type of guardianship is to manage a child’s income and other property until they turn 18. This type of guardian can be useful if the child inherits a large sum of money or they are somehow making money on their own through acting or some other type of profession. In most cases, the court appoints a parent to the be the guardian of the child’s estate. If the inheritance was from the death of one parent, the surviving parent becomes the guardian of the estate.

The responsibilities of the guardian include:

  • Managing the child’s money.
  • Making smart investments as well as managing the child’s property effectively.

It is important to have an attorney set up an estate for your child and to represent the guardian. The main reason for the need for an attorney is the fact that the court will hold the guardian to the highest level of responsibility in the law, the fiduciary duty. This duty requires the guardian to follow all the rules and laws about the child’s estate. An attorney can make sure that the estate, as well as the guardian, have protection. A guardianship attorney can make sure that the estate does everything correctly. The fees for the lawyer are paid by the estate, and therefore, the court must approve the attorney so that there is protection for the child.

Guardianship VS. Adoption

Guardianship and adoption are different. Becoming the guardian of a child does not mean that the parent no longer has rights. With a guardianship agreement, a parent can still ask for reasonable contact with the child. The court can also end the guardianship order if the parent becomes able to take care of the child again. Guardians may require court supervision.

In an adoption, the parental rights are terminated, permanently. The legal relationship with the adoptive parents is permanent and is exactly the same as the birth family.  An adopted child inherits property or money from their parents just like they would if they were their birth parents. Lastly, courts do not supervise any adoptive families.

An Attorney Can Help

If you have any guardianship needs, Erica Bansmer can help. She and her team will use their experience with family law to help you become a guardian of a child or an estate. Contact Attorney Bansmer today for a consultation.

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Stockton Family Court

  • The Stockton Family Court is a division of the Superior Court Of California.
  • The main responsibility of the Stockton Family Court is to settle matters pertaining to Child Custody.
  • Family Court services also include an orientation program for parents and modifying existing child custody agreements.