Navigating Guardianships For Minors In California
A guardianship is an important tool that grants an adult the legal authority to act on behalf of a minor. In some family situations, a guardianship is critical for ensuring the safety and well-being of the child.
At the Law Offices of John A. Guthrie, our family law attorneys handle guardianship proceedings from all angles. We help prospective guardians navigate the many procedural hurdles involved in these proceedings. We also represent parties in contested guardianship cases.
Adoption Versus Guardianship
Adoption and guardianship are two distinct family law concepts that often get confused.
- Adoption gives the adoptive parent all the same rights as a biological parent, including inheritance rights. By law, a child in California can have up to three legal parents, whether biological or adoptive. That means a biological parent’s rights may have to be terminated to allow the adoption to proceed.
- Guardianship gives one or more adults legal authority over the child, which may include all decision-making and management of the child’s financial affairs. A guardian does not have the role of a legal parent, however, which means that parental rights don’t have to be terminated to appoint a guardian. Unlike adoption, a guardianship is not permanent; it always ends when the minor turns 18.
Within a guardianship, there are two types:
- Guardianship of the person refers to decision-making authority over the child.
- Guardianship of the estate refers to authority over their property and financial affairs.
Typically, one guardian fills both roles, although the law does allow those responsibilities to be divided.
Discuss Your Guardianship Case With A Caring Legal Team
Given the many complex legal considerations involved in guardianship, it’s not something that should be pursued lightly. Our lawyers can offer the guidance you need to navigate this significant decision. We offer free consultations that are completely confidential.