Being The Legal Guardian Of A Minor Child

If you are interested in becoming a guardian or would like to establish someone's guardianship over your own minor child, the legal team at the law offices of Kathleen J. Smith can walk you through the legal process.

With over 20 years of combined experience in handling family law matters, we are dedicated to protecting the best interests of children. We will help you build a strong case for your guardianship rights, and we will provide effective representation for you in court.

With offices in Sonoma and Santa Rosa, our firm serves clients throughout the region. To schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer, call 707-387-0668.

Understanding Your Role As The Guardian

Sometimes, parents may become unfit to raise their child for a variety of reasons, such as severe financial struggles, drug addictions or alcohol abuse. When this happens, another adult may step in to serve as the minor's legal guardian, ensuring that he or she continues growing up in a safe and healthy environment where he or she feels supported. This person can be another relative.

When considering becoming a legal guardian, you should take note of the responsibilities the role entails, many of which include:

  • Providing a place for the child to live
  • Providing food and clothing for the child
  • Making decisions about education and health care for the child

By committing to these responsibilities, you are assured by your ability to provide and prioritize the child's overall well-being. At the same time, it is important to distinguish guardianship rights from parenting rights, such as those of adoption or of custody. As a guardian, you are expected to make legal decisions that protect the child's best interests, but you will not be considered the child's parent.

Terminating An Existing Guardianship

In California, a child is no longer considered a minor once he or she reaches the age of 18. This means that guardianship can be terminated at this age. However, if the court rules that the child may still be in need of care and support, guardianship may be continued for as long as necessary or as desired. It is also possible to replace an existing guardianship with a new one, if the child's interests are better met by someone else.

Learn More At A Confidential Consultation

Whether you are applying for guardianship, looking to terminate an existing role or would simply like to learn more about the process, we can walk you through the necessary paperwork and requirements under California law. Complete our intake form or call our office to schedule a consultation with Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law.