Obtaining Guardianship For a Minor in California

There are several reasons why people (even close relatives) would want to become a child’s legal guardian. For various reasons, sometimes a parent is unable to care for their child: mental health struggles, substance addiction, neglect or, in some cases, the parent passes away without a plan in place for the child. Regardless of the circumstances, a legal guardian is someone who steps forward to do what is best for the child when others cannot. At Empower Law Group, it is our privilege to represent anyone who is requesting a guardianship, whether it be the legal guardian or, in some cases, the child making such a request. 

What Steps Do I Take to Become a Guardian?

The first step is to get in touch with an attorney who has experience with legal guardianships. Although we will outline the process here, your attorney will be there to guide you through it, file the appropriate documents (this is an extensive list), and represent you when you have a court hearing. There are two different types of guardianships in California: temporary (short-term) and general (long-term). Both temporary and general guardianships require the court’s approval. 

How Does The Process Work?

To become a minor’s guardian, you must complete multiple forms and file them with the court. (Though there are too many form to address each one individually, know that Empower Law Group will ensure these are completed.) The first set of forms is your petition for guardianship. Additionally, you must provide notice to anyone who has an “interest” in your request, such as the child’s biological parents and other relatives.

The court will also assign an investigator to interview you to ensure you will be a suitable guardian. When minors are involved, the court’s decisions are based on what is in the child’s best interest. In addition to the interview, you can expect the court to conduct a background investigation on you and to have the investigator conduct a home visit. 

Unless there is an out-of-court settlement, at some point in this process, you and your attorney will attend a court hearing where the judge will decide whether it is in the best interest of the child for you to become their guardian. If the judge grants your request, the court will issue the Letters of Guardianship. Because this is a legal document that proves your role as guardian, the court will provide you with certified copies. 

Empower Law Group

Attorney Johanna Kleppe of Empower Law Group is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and has represented minors and adults in the family law, probate and juvenile dependency courts.  We are proud to offer our experience and representation to support those who want to become legal guardians for minors, as well as for minors who are of an age where they can petition the court on their own. Start the process today by contacting Empower Law Group and scheduling a consultation.

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Empower Law Group

My practice is entirely focused on helping families and children navigate the sometimes complex and often confusing world of family law, guardianships, domestic violence, reunification, and litigation. I bring compassion to my work and am dedicated to finding the proper resolution for you and your particular family law dilemma. I am accessible and meticulous about ensuring you receive the attention you deserve. We aim to empower you to create the next great chapter of your life.

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