Guardianship

Definition of Guardianship

California is one of the few states that uses a different term for guardianships, depending on whether the person who needs to be taken care of us a minor or an adult who is no longer able to care for his or her own needs.  If someone needs legal authority to care for an adult, then California calls that a Conservatorship.  Guardianship refers solely to people under the age of 18.

Need for Guardianship

Life can often present us with significant challenges and issues that aren’t so easily remedied.  In some cases, events take place that may inhibit a parent’s ability to look after and care for their child.  Other times, the parents may be physically unable or simply unwilling to further care for the minor. In the event of a situation like this, establishing a legal guardianship is incredibly vital for the safety and well-being of the minor(s) involved.  At the law offices of Lopez & Wilmert, LLP., our compassionate guardianship attorneys are here to help those seeking the legal guardianship of a minor to successfully achieve their goals so that the child or children may grow up in a secure, nurturing, and loving environment.

Obtaining Legal Guardianship

Many different situations may give cause to a person seeking guardianship over a minor who is not the biological child. Such conditions and situations can include:

  • Parents being absent or missing
  • Parents being Incarcerated
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Neglect
  • Parents who are terminally ill
  • Unfit Parents
  • Insurance or citizenship issues
  • Minors who inherit or otherwise acquire significant sums of money

If you are seeking legal guardianship of a minor, our expert guardianship attorneys here at Lopez & Wilmert can guide you through this often daunting process.  Together we can help you pursue the safety and well-being of the child.

Terminating Guardianship

Once a parent is again able adequately take care for and provide for the child, a guardianship may be terminated.  In order for this to take place, a judge must evaluate the conditions of the situation closely and determine what is in the best interest of the child.  If the judge rules that the minor would again be best suited with his/her biological parents, then the guardianship will be terminated.  Additionally, if a child reaches the age of 18 while under a guardian, the guardianship will end automatically.  If there exists an underlying medical issue preventing the child from caring for himself or herself, then a Conservatorship will need to be established in place of the guardianship.

Difference Between Guardianship Of Person and Of Estate

Under California state law, a guardianship may be granted of the Person, of the Estate, or of both.  A guardianship of the estate allows the guardian to have full power to manage the minor’s assets and property.  While children don’t typically amass a large estate or significant funds, in the event that they do (sometimes via inheritance) a guardian of the estate is needed.

When a guardian is only granted the responsibility for the personal care of a minor, then they are said to be a guardian of the person only, and this is far more common.  This role generally involves all things that come with providing care for a child such as taking them to school, providing them with clothes, tending to their health, and feeding them. Both guardianship of estate and person can be held by a single person, however there are situations that may come into play making it necessary for these roles to be taken on by separate individuals.

Guardianship Contests

There are times when one or both parents do not agree with the person who is attempting to acquire guardianship of their child. When this happens, a contest to the guardianship must be filed then the case will be brought before a judge in court. Contesting a guardianship can be a long and complex process, having expert guardianship contest attorneys on your side is an absolute must if you wish to achieve the best possible result..

Successful Resolutions

If you are seeking for guardianship of a child, are attempting to terminate a guardianship, or you would like to contest a guardianship proceeding now in progress, contact the law offices of Lopez & Wilmert, LLP today to meet with one of our guardianship specialist attorneys.  Our law firm has had numerous successful resolutions to some of the most complex cases involving guardianship and guardianship contests.