Jul. 30, 2014
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Guardianships

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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.
© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Sutter