Guardianship Lawyers Serving Los Angeles
Helping You Protect & Look Out for Your Loved Ones
At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, we represent clients in some of the most important legal matters that may ever face. Included in the family law umbrella is the issue of guardianship. Our legal team is comprised of some of the most highly-trained and experienced lawyers in family law throughout California, including Board-Certified Family Law Specialists who have gone beyond the standard requirements of the bar to become experts in their field.
If you are looking into establishing guardianship for a minor child for either a long-term or temporary appointment, our Los Angeles guardianship attorneys can help. We will explain the California guardianship process and gather the necessary records to file the petition correctly. In the event of an investigation or hearing, our dedicated attorneys will work with you in preparing the necessary evidence and statements for your case.
How Does Guardianship Work in California?
As a legal guardian of a minor child, adults—other than the child’s parents—can exercise full or partial authority to make decisions on the child’s behalf in all matters relating to living arrangements, legal decisions, education, property, and financial affairs. This is true for both long-term guardianship appointments and emergency or temporary situations.
When the court appoints a guardian, the child’s parents will lose their right to supervise, care for, or take custody of the child, for as long as the guardianship appointment remains. However, parents may still retain the right to have reasonable visitation. They may also be required to pay child support to the guardian for the maintenance of the child.
A guardian may be appointed for a child in cases where the parents have an inability or unwillingness to take responsibility for the child, or when the parents voluntarily agree to guardianship. When both parents of a child die, the appointment of a guardian is often appropriate. Guardianship may also occur in instances where the parents are found unfit or neglectful.
Reasons for establishing guardianship can also involve:
- The serious physical or mental illness of the parents
- Military parents serving overseas
- Parents suffering from alcohol or substance abuse
- Missing parents
- Parents convicted of crimes leading to incarceration
- Abusive parents
These reasons will not apply if the child has one parent who is can still act as a responsible parent. California courts will only appoint a guardian if it serves the best interests of the child. Guardianship can be terminated when the parents regain their ability to care for the child.
What Is the Difference Between Guardianship and Custody in California?
The main difference between custody and guardianship is the child’s parentage: custody is used to describe which parent cares for the child, while legal guardianship is used for someone who is not the child’s biological parent. In some cases, a child may be under someone else’s guardianship while still in their parents’ custody.
Who May Become a Guardian?
Any adult who is qualified to raise a child may become a guardian, including relatives, friends of the family, neighbors, or anyone else whose appointment would promote the child’s best interests. Once a court appoints you as a guardian, you will be under its supervision. You may be selected as the guardian of the child, a guardian of the child’s estate, or both.
As the legal guardian of a child, you will have the same rights and responsibilities as a parent, including the right to take legal and physical custody of the child and to make decisions regarding his or her physical and emotional well-being, safety, education, and health care.
How Do You Get Legal Guardianship in California?
In order to become a guardian, you must file papers with the court and go through a number of steps, including:
“Give notice” to certain people (such as the child’s parents), relatives and agencies.
Get completed proof of services forms from the server and file them with the court.
Get everyone who agrees to sign a consent and waiver of notice.
Talk with the court investigator who will prepare an investigation report.
Attend a court hearing.
File your court order with the clerk.
Follow up with status reports.
An experienced Los Angeles guardianship attorney can ensure all legal forms are filled out correctly and represent your case in court.
Call TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP at (310) 455-8364 for a free initial consultation today.