In California, guardianship over a minor occurs when the court orders someone other than the child’s parents to have custody of the minor. A guardianship of the person is typically set up because a child is living with an adult who is not the child’s parent, and the adult needs a court order to make decisions on behalf of the child.
Often times people mistake a guardianship with an adoption. A guardianship is not the same as an adoption. The main differences are that in a guardianship, the minor’s parents still have parental rights, and they can ask for reasonable contact with the child. With an adoption the parent’s rights are permanently terminated.
With a guardianship, the court can order the guardianship ended if the parents are able to demonstrate that they can take care of the child. With an adoption, the legal relationship with the adoptive parents is permanent and is exactly the same as a birth family.
When a guardianship is granted, the court can order the guardians to be supervised by the court. With an adoption, the court does not do any supervision.
In a guardianship of person, the guardian has the same responsibilities to care for the child as a parent would. That means the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child and can make all the decisions about the physical care of the child that a parent would make. A guardian can be anyone: relatives, friends of the family, or other people suitable to raise the child can ask to be legal guardians.
The guardian is responsible for the child’s care, including the child’s food, clothing, shelter, safety and protection. As well as responsibility for the child’s physical and emotional growth, medical and dental care, education and any other special needs the child may require.
The guardian is also be responsible for supervision of the child and may be liable for any intentional damage the child may cause.
An experienced family law attorney can look over a specific case, and determine whether a guardianship is appropriate.
Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (888) 749-7428 for more information.
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