Parents generally have a right to care for their children and make important decisions about their health, safety and general welfare. However, there are circumstances where it may be appropriate to appoint a guardian for the child.
With a guardianship, the parent does not lose his or her parental rights and can request contact with the child. The court may supervise the guardian and can end the guardianship when and if it determines the parent is capable of caring for the child again.
In California, there are three types of guardianships. These are a guardian of a person, a guardian of an estate and a guardian of a person and estate.
Guardian of a person
A guardian of a person has full legal and physical custody of the child. The guardian has the same responsibilities as the parent would. He or she is responsible for providing food, clothing and shelter for the child, safety and protection, medical and dental care, education and overseeing the child’s physical and emotional growth.
The guardian can be a relative, friend or another person suitable to raise the child, as determined by the court. The court will consider the best interests of the child in making a decision about guardianship.
Guardian of an estate
A guardian of an estate manages a child’s income, money or other property until the child turns 18. This type of guardianship may apply if the child inherits money or assets.
In some situations, the court will appoint the same person to be a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate and in others, it will appoint two separate individuals.
An experienced attorney can offer additional information about guardianships and provide representation.