It is important to understand what type of guardianship you are seeking since there are three different types that have different requirements and standards:
(1) Guardianship of the person;
(2) Guardianship of the estate; or
(3) Guardianship of the person and estate.
Guardianship of the Person (only)
A guardianship of the person is the most common type of guardianship requested. It occurs when a court orders someone other than the child’s parent to have custody of the minor. This guardianship process is generally brought through the San Bernardino Probate Court, but it may also be initiated through the San Bernardino Juvenile Court through a child dependency action.
A guardianship of the person is usually started because the minor child is living with someone other than his or her parent. Often times, the child is living with a relative, but any adult who is providing care for the child may bring a request for a guardianship of the person.
Before starting a Petition for Guardianship in San Bernardino County, it is critical to understand both your responsibilities as a Guardian, and the continuing rights of the child’s parent(s) while the guardianship is in effect.
If you are appointed the Guardian, you will have the same responsibilities to care for the child that his or her parents would have. This means that you will have legal and physical custody of the child, and the ability to make decisions concerning the health, safety, and welfare of the child.
In addition, a Guardian is charged with the responsibility of the child’s care, which includes providing the following:
Food, clothing, and shelter;
Safety and welfare;
Health, medical, and dental care; and
Educational needs, including any special needs.
Parent’s Continuing Rights
A Guardianship is different than an adoption since the biological parent’s rights are not terminated. This means that even if your guardianship is granted by the court, the parent(s) will continue to have parental rights where they can ask for reasonable contact with the minor child. Also, the parent(s), and even the minor child, may petition the court at any time in the future to end the guardianship if the parents become capable of caring for the child.
Granting a Guardianship of the Person
Generally, a guardianship of the person will be necessary where a parent is unable to care for their child. This may occur under a number of different circumstances, including where one or both of the parents are faced with any of the following:
Having a physical or mental illness or disability;
Suffering from drug and/or alcohol abuse;
Going to jail or prison for an extended period;
Having a history of physical abuse, including domestic violence; or
Are in the military and plan on being overseas.
Ultimately, the San Bernardino Superior Court will look at what is in the child’s best interest to determine whether to issue a guardianship of the person. However, a guardianship often involves a large amount of documents be filed with the Court, even where the parent(s) of the child agree to the guardianship.
Requesting a guardianship of the person can be very intensive and confusing at times. You need an experienced San Bernardino guardianship family law attorney to review your case and assist you in achieving a guardianship without delays. The law firm of Wallin and Klarich is prepared to answer your legal questions and is immediately available to assist you with your case. Contact us today at 888-749-7428. We will be there when you call.