Six Reasons Why We Are the Best Guardianship Attorneys in Sacramento.
Our Family Law attorneys are experienced family law courts in your area. There is no substitute for local experience and knowledge of local legal strategies. We are present and defending cases in your area every day of the week.
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Guardianship Attorneys in Sacramento, California.
Sadly, this world is not kind to everyone, and those who are most susceptible to its cruelty are often children, elders, or individuals with disabilities. This is why California takes guardianship so seriously, so we can provide support and protection to those in need.
If you are wondering how to become guardian over a child or elder, how to appoint a guardian for your own child or a loved one, or how to assign a guardian for yourself for the future, we are here to help. Below you will find information on each of these processes. However, while the following paragraphs provide you with general guidelines, it is best to call us for a free case evaluation, since the information below should not be taken as legal advice.
How to File for Guardianship of a Minor in Sacramento, CA
The guardianship process in California is intricate and lengthy, and for good reason. Sacramento courts want to ensure that children and elders are properly cared for and thus go through great measures to examine the guardians and make sure that they are fit before they make anything official. If you would like to become a guardian of a child, you should always consult with an attorney located in Sacramento, so they can inform you of the exact process you will need to follow and so that they are familiar with Sacramento county’s courts and judges.
Grounds for Guardianship in California – When Should You File for Guardianship in Sacramento?
While there are many situations that call for a guardian to be appointed over a child, the underlying reason in all circumstances is that the child’s parents are simply unable to properly care for them. Perhaps they have passed away or abandoned the child. They might have an incapacitating mental or physical illness. Or they could have been convicted of a crime and sent to jail or prison or deemed unfit by the court due to drug or alcohol abuse. In some of the more extreme and tragic cases, the child is removed due to abuse or neglect. In any case, guardianship is only granted if the child is at risk in their current situation. Thus, we always extend not only legal guidance but also compassion when guiding you through the process of becoming a guardian, since we know the circumstances necessitating guardianship of a child can be heartbreaking.
Guardianship Forms in Sacramento County
The first step in becoming a child’s guardian is to fill out the guardianship forms Sacramento county will require of you, which change depending on whether you go through probate or juvenile court. The forms will provide all preliminary details of your and the child’s situations. Namely, they will ask you why you wish to obtain guardianship over the minor and why you believe you are qualified to take on the role. Then, your guardianship attorney will inform you of the duties and rights of a guardian and the laws surrounding guardianship in California. Once you fully understand these, you will sign additional paperwork stating that you do. Never sign off on anything until you are certain you are fully aware of any future repercussions or responsibilities, and never submit paperwork until your guardianship attorney has reviewed it for errors.
Notifying Relatives of Potential Guardianship in California
Once you have completed all the paperwork and submitted it to Sacramento County courts, you must send out notices to the child’s relatives (or those legally involved with the child) of the potential guardianship. These must be written and delivered according to California’s specific guidelines, all within a certain time period after you file for guardianship over the minor. If you attempted to contact certain individuals but could not locate them, you must document your attempts according to California’s guardianship laws. Your guardianship attorney will let you know which individuals you must contact, how to fill out and send the notices, and how to document any attempts to make contact with individuals of unknown whereabouts. We will make the process go smoothly and in accordance with guardianship statutes in California.
Guardianship Investigations in Sacramento, California
The most involved and possibly most intimidating step in guardianship cases are the investigations. Guardianship investigations are meant to determine whether you are fit to be a guardian or not, and they will examine all aspects of your home life, financial situation, and other responsibilities. This means that they will interview and perform background checks on you and possibly interview any past and present caretakers or potential neighbors who might be in frequent contact with the child. They can also interview the child if they feel the need. They will inspect your house and the neighborhood in which you live in and your financial and physical capacity to provide for the child. We can assist you in preparing for the interview so that nerves do not cause you to stumble and you can go into the guardianship investigations with confidence. We can also give you guidelines on how to prepare your home and do your own research on your hometown in preparation for the guardianship investigator’s arrival.
Guardianship Court Hearings in Sacramento County
And, in the final steps of guardianship, you will go before the judge and present your case. The investigator will deliver his or her report containing your information and your guardianship lawyer will present all your documentation. They, you will be asked to present your case before the judge, explaining why the child’s situation calls for a guardian to be appointed and why you believe you are suitable for the position. Don’t worry, we will be there with you through every step, ensuring that you have a powerful advocate at your back. If the judge grants you guardianship, there are follow-up steps that you must take, and we will walk you through those.
How to Find a Guardian for Your Child in California
If you are a parent who is concerned about his or her child’s future, you may wish to appoint a guardian. Perhaps you are a military member who will be going away on duty. Or you may have fallen ill and would like to ensure that your child is safe if you pass away or something happens to you. In any case, we know that handing the care of your child to someone else, even someone you trust, is incredibly difficult. Our team will handle your case with the care and attention you and your child deserve, and will guide you through either process to ease some of your burden.
Guardianship for Military Members – Temporary Guardianship of a Child
Being separated from your child for a long time is incredibly difficult, especially for military service members. We want to ensure that while you are caring and protecting our country, someone is doing the same for your son or daughter. Thus, we will help you form a plan that will encompass all aspects of your child’s care and grant legal rights and responsibilities to a guardian you trust.
Future Guardianships in Case of Death
Often, this is an incredibly difficult topic to discuss, especially with someone you do not know. However, we know that you are making the right and amazingly brave decision to plan ahead for your son or daughter’s future, and we want to honor that. Thus, we will walk you through each and every step so that no base is left uncovered and all aspects of your child’s care are outlined for a future guardian.
Rights of Guardians of Minors in California
Legal Decisions That Guardians Can Make
Simply put, this depends on the judge’s final order or on the parent’s wishes (if they appointed the guardian themselves). Thus, the decisions a guardian is able to make depend on their and the child’s individual situation. Generally speaking, however, a guardian’s rights include the ability to make decisions over the child’s physical care (food, clothing, housing), medical care (mental and physical), education, and general well-being. However, in many cases, the parents retain some level of legal custody over their child (even full legal custody in some situations). Thus, guardianship rights in Sacramento, California differ with each case.
Child Guardianship Versus Child Custody
The first difference between custody and guardianship is that child custody is handled in family court and child guardianship is handled in either probate or juvenile. However, child custody typically only applies to parents during divorce, legal separation, or unmarried child custody battles. Thus, the difference between child custody and guardianship lies in the extent of the rights. Legal custody is typically permanent and refers to the rights of the child’s biological or adoptive parents. Child guardianship typically does not terminate or replace legal custody, but simply puts it on hold or limits the parent’s custody rights.
Guardianship Versus Adoption
The difference between adoption and child custody is that adoption grants the adoptive parents full parental rights over the child while guardianship grants temporary, restricted rights over the child. This is because adoption makes the adoptive parent(s) the legal mother and/or father of the child, granting them full legal and physical custody over their son or daughter. In contrast, guardianship is not permanent. Rather, it is a legal arrangement that allows the guardian enough rights to properly care for the child while being closely supervised by the court. The court can also terminate the guardianship whenever they feel it is necessary.
Conservatorship – Becoming Guardian Over an Adult
Of course, children are not the only ones susceptible to life’s harsh circumstances. Often, elderly adults or individuals with disabilities require a guardian as well. Guardians over adults are called conservators, and the process of becoming one begins with filling out detailed forms. The conservatorship forms in California will ask you questions regarding the adult’s circumstances and why they need a guardian and why you feel you are able to take on the role as their conservator. Your conservatorship attorney will walk you through each of these and help you prepare them accurately and efficiently.
Conservatorship – Appointing a Guardian Over an Adult
If you know of an adult who can no longer care for themselves and would like to find a guardian for them, but cannot take on the responsibility yourself, we can help. We admire your desire to help your loved one and will help you find someone you trust and fill out the paperwork to appoint them as conservator.
Power of Attorney Versus Conservatorship
Conservatorship differs from power of attorney in that the latter enables a person to appoint a caretaker for themselves before they become incapacitated. Thus, they must be in full mental capacity when they grant power of attorney to an individual in order for it to be official. If you would like to prepare for your future and grant a trusted individual power of attorney to protect your property and finances, we can help you do just that. Give us a free call today.
Legal Rights of Conservators
Similar to child guardianship, the rights of a conservator are given on an as-needed basis. Thus, they differ from case to case. In general, conservators have the right to make financial decisions and manage the conservatee’s property for however long is necessary. Call us for a free consultation so we can listen to your specific situation and advise you from there.