It takes quite of bit of time to go through the California guardianship process. Although you do not need to hire an attorney to file guardianship in California, you probably should work with an experienced legal document preparer who is familiar with the steps to file guardianship in California, In the first place, the guardianship forms and rules for notice are a bit complicated. On the positive side, A People’s Choice, can help guide you through the various steps and help you comply with the local court rules. You might, however, consider getting some basic legal advice from an attorney if the minor has property worth a lot of money or is of Native American heritage.
“I had no idea the guardianship paperwork was so complicated. When I went to the Ventura court self-help center, they gave me a huge stack of forms and told me I needed to take them home and complete them. I was so upset and overwhelmed because I knew I could not afford to hire an attorney.” Trenton S.
“Somehow I found A People’s Choice on the internet. The fee they charged me to prepared the guardianship documents I needed was something I could afford. I gave them all the information they needed for my paperwork through an interview on their website. I didn’t even have to take off work. It was such a relief for me to find them.” Trenton S.
Get help filing a California Guardianship!
Steps to file Guardianship in California
If you want to file guardianship in a California, you should follow these 5 steps.
Step 1 – Completing the forms
One of the first steps to file guardianship in California is completing the forms. Unfortunately, the California guardianship process requires many forms to start the appointment process.
- Petition for Appointment of Guardian of the Person (Form GC-210(P)) if you are asking for guardianship of the person only; or
Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor (Form GC-210) if you are also asking for a guardianship of the child’s financial estate.
- Guardianship Petition–Child Information Attachment (Form GC-210(CA)
- Notice of Hearing–Guardianship or Conservatorship (Form GC-020)
- Consent of Proposed Guardian, Nomination of Guardian, Consent to Appointment of Guardian and Waiver of Notice (Form GC-211)
- Duties of Guardian (Form GC-248)
- Letters of Guardianship (Form GC-250)
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-105/GC-120)
- Confidential Guardian Screening Form (Form GC-212)
- Parental Notification of Indian Status (Form ICWA-020) for each parent of the child and the people asking to be appointed guardian.
- Order Appointing Guardian or Extending Guardianship of the Person (Form GC-240)
They are many steps to file guardianship in California. With this in mind, the forms listed above will need to be completed at different times during the guardianship process. On the other hand, some of the forms may not apply in your case. Be aware, you may need to complete other local forms as well. We suggest you also read the Guardianship Pamphlet if you are asking to be appointed as the guardian of a child.
Step 2 – Filing the Forms
In the event you did not use the services of a legal document assistant, it would be a good idea to have your completed forms reviewed by an attorney. For one thing, it is critical that your forms are filled out accurately to avoid the documents being rejected. You will need to file your completed forms with the court. In general, you will need at least 2 copies of all the forms. First, file the original forms with the court clerk. Remember, you will need to keep one copy for yourself. Second, make extra copies to serve on all interested parties (such as the minor’s parents or immediate family members).
Step 3 – Serving the Forms
One of the next steps when you file guardianship in California is serving the filed forms. Specifically, the forms need to be served on interested parties. You may need to hire a process-server or someone 18-years-old or older who is not a party to the case to serve the forms. Specifically, you must personally serve the child’s parents, the person who now has legal custody of the minor, and the child. On the other hand, you can serve the child’s grandparents, brothers and sisters by mail. Keep in mind, the California Department of Social Services must also receive notice if you are not related to the minor. Lastly, once you have served everyone required, you should file the proof of service with the court.
Step 4 – the Investigation
The court investigator will interview you and the minor before the court hearing. In the same fashion, the investigator may also interview the child’s parents and the child’s immediate relatives. The investigation is one of the most important steps to file guardianship in California. In the first place, after completing their investigation, the investigator will make a guardianship recommendation to the judge. If the investigator does not recommend the guardianship, the Petition will most likely be denied.
Step 5 – the Hearing
At the court hearing, the judge will read the investigator’s recommendation. By the same token, the judge will also read the guardianship petition and listen to any testimonial evidence against the guardianship appointment. If the judge grants the guardianship, the judge will sign the Order Appointing Guardian and the clerk will issue the Letters of Guardianship. Lastly, you will need to present the Order and Letters to the clerk’s office for official certification. The Letters is your document of authority showing that you have been appointed guardian.
Contact A People’s Choice for more information about the California guardianship process. We can help you complete all the required steps to file guardianship in California.
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