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What is Guardianship?

When there is no parent able to care for a child then a guardian can be appointed by the Probate Court. Guardianship hearing is a court proceeding that gives a responsible adult:

  • Custody of a minor child
  • Power over the child's estate
  • Or both.

The judge may appoint a guardian based on:

  • The parents' wishes
  • A petition for appointment of guardian
  • Court investigations
  • The child's wishes if the child is 12 or older
  • The child's best interests.

A guardian has the legal right to make decisions on behalf of the child. After notice is given to other relatives or persons of interest, a court investigator will conduct interviews and submit a recommendation to the court. The court will hold a hearing in which the judge may or may not appoint a guardian, depending on the child's best interests. Only the Juvenile Court may appoint a legal guardian if a child is a dependent of the Court.

For more help with Probate guardianship issues, go to Probate Guardianship/Conservator Information.

For more information about Guardianship, go to the California Courts website.
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