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Guardianship of a Minor Child in California


How do you define a California guardianship? With a guardianship, a court orders someone, who is not the child's parents to have custody of a child or manage the child's "estate," or both.

Generally, a probate guardianship is established because a child is living with, or is going to live with someone who is not the child's parents. Under this arrangement, the adult must have a court order to make decisions on behalf of the child.

Reasons for a Guardianship

Guardianships are created for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the child's grandparents petition the court to be guardians because the child is being neglected or abused. Or, one or both parents may have a drug or alcohol abuse problem.

A guardianship may be set up when one or both parents:

  • Suffer from a serious disease
  • Are seriously disabled
  • Have been injured in an accident
  • Have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness
  • Must go to rehab for an extended period of time
  • Have a history of child abuse
  • Are going to jail or prison for a while
  • Cannot afford to care for the child
  • Are in the military and are going oversees

Two Types of Guardianship in California

There are two types of probate guardianships in California: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. In a guardianship of the person, the guardian has the same legal responsibilities as the parents normally would.

This means that a guardian is fully responsible for the child's day-to-day care, including food, shelter, education, medical care, safety, protection, and emotional growth. Sometimes, a guardianship of the person is necessary, even when parents love their child unconditionally, but they are incapable of parenting for some reason.

In contrast, a guardianship of the estate is established to manage a child's income or assets until the child reaches 18. A guardian of the estate may be necessary when the child receives valuable real estate or a large inheritance; usually the parents are appointed as the guardian of the child's estate.

A guardian of the estate and of the person can be the same person, and other times they will be two different people.

Contact Negley Law, APC today!

If you are interested in learning more about guardianships and what they entail, contact Negley Law, APC to discuss your case with a Ventura family law attorney.

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