Becoming A Guardian

Legal authority to watch over the well-being of a minor

Guardianships in Southern California

Understanding California Laws on Guardianships

Guardianships exist to provide individuals with legal authority to watch over the well-being of a minor. These cases can be extremely complex and intimidating, so you should always consult with a skilled lawyer when you have been named as a guardian or if you need to pursue a guardianship. Our team of attorneys at Sandoval Legacy Group, a division of Holstrom, Block & Parke, a Professional Law Corporation, can help you navigate the legal processes necessary for pursuing guardianships. We can also lay out exactly what your responsibilities will be as a guardian and help you to come up with an effective plan of action.

What Is a Guardian?

A guardian is appointed by a court for a minor in the event that both of his or her parents are unable provide care. Common scenarios that may warrant a court-appointed guardian include the incarceration, illness or death, drug use, homelessness, abandonment, or history of abuse of both parents.


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There are different types of guardianships. These include:

  • Guardianship of the person – Tends to the personal care of the ward
  • Guardianship of the estate – Guardian of a person’s estate (real estate, personal property, money, etc.)
  • Limited guardianships – Only granted a certain set of powers under the court order
  • Plenary guardianships – Holds all powers available to guardians under the law
  • Temporary guardians – Only granted certain powers for a period of no more than 60 days
  • Successor guardians – Takes over, by court order, all duties and powers of a previously appointed guardian

Legal guardians may be responsible for a minor’s:

  • Education
  • Welfare
  • Safety & Protection
  • Health, Dental, & Vision
  • Food, Shelter, & Clothing
  • Conduct & Behavior
  • Physical & Emotional Growth

Parental Rights vs. Guardianship

Appointment of a guardian of the person does not automatically terminate the natural parent’s rights. However, a guardian has the option of filing a petition to terminate parental rights after he or she has had custody for two or more years. In most cases, the birth parents will be allowed to visit the child, but the guardian holds the authority to determine when, for how long, and how often. The birth parents can petition the court for a visitation order to ensure a set schedule of visits. The natural parents can get custody back only if and when the court determines the child no longer needs a guardian. This determination can be requested by filing a Petition for Termination of Guardianship.