Monday, October 8, 2007

Guardianships in California

Establishing a guardianship in California may be necessary for a number of reasons. However, a guardianship can only be established to obtain custody of a child who is under the age of eighteen years (an adult who is unable to care for him or herself needs a "conservatorship"), and only if that child is one who is not being properly cared for in the custody of his/her parents.

The purpose of a Ca guardianship is to ensure that a child who is not being cared for by his/her parents has someone who is capable of assuming custody and taking care of that child as if that child was the guardian's own. A guardian is responsible for providing financial and emotional support to the child. The guardian assumes all responsibilities for that child, and must make sure all the child's needs are met, including making sure the child stays healthy, gets an education, and has all his/her needs met.

There are two ways in which a guardianship can be established. The first is when Child Protective Services (CPS) steps in and removes a child from the parents' home. CPS must first attempt to place the child with a relative. If a suitable relative is found, the county will help the relative establish a guardianship through a "dependency proceeding." The relative almost never needs his/her own attorney, and the service is free.

The other way in which a guardianship can be established is through a private proceeding in probate court. A private guardianship would necessary if either the parents were unable to care for the child and leaves the child with a relative; or a relative observes the parents are unfit and choose to file a guardianship in order to prevent the child from being placed in the custody of CPS.

If the parents leave the child with a relative for a short period of time, a guardianship is probably not necessary. The parents can simply sign a power of attorney in front of a notary public giving a relative the ability to make decisions for the child concerning that child's health, welfare and safety. Similarly, a guardianship may also not be necessary for a teenager who is almost eighteen years old.

Guardianship advice provided by the law office of Famularo & Associates, family law attorneys serving the Temecula, Murrieta, Riverside and Hemet areas of Riverside County, California. For additional information, please visit one of our websites: temecula divorce, riverside county family law, or family lawyer in temecula.

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