San Diego Guardianship and Conservatorship Lawyers
A Guardian is an adult appointed by the court to care for a child. Guardianship is a temporary legal arrangement that’s supervised by the court. Under guardianship, the child’s parents retain the legal right to seek custody.
Conservatorship is when an adult provides assistance to another adult who has a limited capacity to care for themselves. Like a guardian, a conservator is appointed by the court. Filing for guardianship or conservatorship is a complicated legal process that requires filling out documents and going for an official hearing in front of a judge. A divorce and family law attorney can assist you with this process.
If you’re looking for help with any issue related to divorce or family law, contact Mattis Law, A.P.C. to schedule a free consultation. In a poll conducted by the San Diego Union-Tribune, readers selected Amelia J. Mattis as a Favorite Family Law Attorney. Super Lawyers has also recognized her as a San Diego Rising Star.
Call (858) 328-4400 to learn more today.
You must petition the court to become a guardian. A guardian is often a close family friend or a relative such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent. When a child’s parents are unable to exercise parental rights, they may voluntarily agree to the appointment of a guardian. However, the child’s parents may contest the appointment of a guardian.
The court must find clear and convincing evidence that guardianship is in the best interest of the child. An investigator will interview the proposed guardian. The child, who is referred to as a ward of the court, will be consulted if they are over the age of five. Child welfare agencies and other witnesses will also provide information to the court.
Reasons why parents may be unable to care for a child include:
- Medical problems
- Profound financial issues
- Mental illness
- Overseas military deployment
- In jail or prison
- Substance abuse
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
To become a guardian, you must attend a formal hearing and file legal papers, which include:
- A petition to the court
- Letters of guardianship
- A screening form
If the court awards you guardianship, you will be granted legal and physical custody of the child. Although, guardianship is temporary, and you will be under the legal supervision of the court. Parents may be granted visitation, and they may also be required to pay child support.
A guardian has physical custody, meaning you have the same responsibility to care for the ward as a parent until the court ends the arrangements or the child reaches maturity, which is 18 years old. A guardian is responsible for making sure the following needs are met:
- Physical growth
- Emotional growth
- Medical and dental care
If the ward owns property that’s worth more than $5000, the court may also appoint you as guardian of the estate, which gives you control of the child’s assets, including:
If a child is Native American, then guardianship is subject to federal law and tribal rules and regulations.
In California, legal supervision over another adult is called conservatorship. You must petition the court to become a conservator. When filing for conservatorship, you are required to inform all “interested parties.” This includes parents, grandparents, and adult children of the person under conservatorship, who is legally known as the conservatee.
Conservatorship includes physical custody and control over the conservatee’s estate. It is illegal for a conservator to use the conservatee’s assets for personal gain. A conservator must acquire a conservatorship bond to protect the conservatee and provide financial recompense should the conservator fail to fulfill their duties.
In California, an adult may be deemed incapable of taking care of themselves for the following reasons:
- Medically incapacitation
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Severe developmental disabilities (SDD)
If you have questions about child guardianship or adult conservatorship, you’ll want to speak with an experienced San Diego family law attorney. These are complicated issues that have long-lasting consequences for everyone involved.
The Mattis Law, A.P.C. team in San Diego can provide the legal advice and assistance you need to protect your rights.
Call us at (858) 328-4400 to schedule a free initial consultation.