Who may be a legal guardian?
Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons over the age of 18 may be considered as potential legal guardians.
A guardian of the person has full legal and physical custody of the child.
A guardian of the estate manages the child’s income, money or other property.
What are a guardian’s responsibilities?
A guardian has fundamentally the same responsibilities for a child as a parent. Those responsibilities include providing for the child’s:
- Food, clothing and shelter
- Safety and protection
- Physical and emotional growth
- Medical and dental care
- Education and any special needs
If a guardian of the estate is included, the guardian must also manage the child’s funds and assets until the child turns 18 and present periodic reports to the Court.
How do I become legal guardian?
To become the legal guardian of a child, you must complete and file documents with the court along with a filing fee (link). You can obtain the form packet from the court or go to the Judicial Council website: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms.
Is there help available to fill out the paperwork?
- Judicial Council self-help website www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp
- Guardianship Clinic workshop is available by contacting the Sutter County Family Law Self-Help Center located at 463 Second Street, Yuba City, CA 95991 (530) 822-3305.
- Judicial Council pamphlet Guardianship Packet for Guardianships of Children in the Probate Court. (Form GC-205)
Will the court investigate and will i have to pay for it?
Yes, an appointed Court Investigator will do a full report that may include:
- a visit to the home where the child will live;
- personal interviews with the child and the proposed guardian(s);
- a review of available documents such as medical or school records;
- telephone interviews with the people involved to confirm information;
- a legal and criminal record check for history of neglect, abuse or criminal activity
The court may order a fee for the Court Investigator’s report based on the time required to conduct the investigation and ability to pay.
Will i be required to come to court after the guardianship granted?
You are required to provide the court with the yearly Judicial Council form GC-251 Confidential Guardianship Status Report and may be required to attend yearly Progress Review hearings.
When does the guardianship end?
- The child turns 18; or
- The child dies; or
- The child is adopted; or
- The child’s assets are used up (for a guardianship of the estate); or
- A judge decides the guardianship is no longer necessary.