Serving as a Legal Guardian in California

Hossein Berenji, Jul 12, 2016

Serving as a legal guardian for a child can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Despite the positive experiences that can come from serving as a guardian, there are also many responsibilities involved. In California, a legal guardian is anyone who is an adult whom the court gives the authority to provide care for a child and manage a child’s assets. In California, relatives and friends can serve as a guardian if the court approves their appointment. If you would like more info on this topic, contact Berenji & Associates for more information.

What are the Duties of a Guardian in California?

When you become a guardian in the state of California, you assume legal responsibility for a child. In the eyes of the law you will be treated just like the child’s parent. If the child damages someone’s property you may be responsible for damages and you will be required to keep careful records and manage any assets the child has.  Before volunteering to be the guardian of a child it is important to remember that caring for a child take serious financial responsibility. The child may get money from social security or another source of income, but this may not be enough to sustain the child.

As a guardian of a child, you get to decide where the child lives. If you move within the state, you must tell the court. If you wish to move out of state it is likely you will need court permission. As a guardian, you will also be responsible for the child’s medical, dental, and educational needs and you will be responsible for  making decisions as to where the child will learn and get medical treatment. California law also permits guardians to make decisions about the child obtaining a driver’s license or enlisting in the military.  

If the child’s birth parents are alive, you may have to allow them to visit the child if the court deems it appropriate.

How Do I Become a Guardian in California?

To become a guardian, you must submit paperwork to the court. While not required for this process, the assistance of an experienced lawyer can make the process of filling out countless forms less stressful and will help you to avoid mistakes. Once you fill out your forms and read the guardianship pamphlet, you need to submit the forms to the court. When you submit these forms, you must submit three copies of each to the court clerk. After the court clerk has received your forms of guardianship, you must provide notice to relatives and certain state agencies. The process of giving notice and determining who should receive notice can be complicated and confusing. After giving notice, there are still many steps you must complete before receiving a court hearing on your guardianship.

Would You Like to Become a Guardian in California?

Becoming a guardian requires a lot of paperwork and even more patience. The lawyers at Berenji & Associates have experience in setting up guardianships and can tell you what to expect and when to expect it throughout the process. If you are interested in serving in a guardian role, contact us today for assistance!