Guardianship of a child is awarded when a California probate court appoints an adult, who is not the child’s parent, to care for and tend to a child or a child’s property. The California probate court can only grant probate guardianship if the child is not involved in a Family Court or Juvenile Court action. There are two types of probate guardianships; guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate.
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California Probate Guardianship
California probate guardianship occurs when a court orders someone, other than the child’s parent, to have custody of the child or to manage the child’s property, called “estate.” The court order can also cover both.
A California probate guardianship of the person is 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. Generally, a California probate guardianship are for children under 18. In the case of immigrant youth who are seeking special immigrant juvenile status, the law allows a guardianship of the person to be requested (or extended) for a young person who is already 18 but still under 21.
Guardianship of the Person
California probate guardianship of the person is used when an adult needs the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the child. Once appointed, the guardian has full legal and physical custody of the child giving the guardian the responsibilities of a parent.
Guardianship of the Estate
California probate guardianship of the estate is used when an adult needs to manage a child’s funds or property. The guardian has control over all of the child’s assets and is responsible for all the child’s debts.
The Difference Between California Probate Guardianship and Adoption
In a California probate guardianship the parents still have parental rights and are permitted to have reasonable contact with the child. Additionally, the court can end a guardianship if the parents become able to take care of the child. Guardians can be supervised by the court.
In an Adoption the parents’ rights are permanently ended. The legal relationship between the adoptive party and the child is permanent and is treated exactly the same as if the child was born to that party. An adoptee inherits from his or her adoptive parent(s), just as a child would. Adoptive families are not supervised by the Court.
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