In California, guardianship is a court proceeding in which a judge gives someone who is not the parent:


  • · Custody of a child, or
  • · The power to manage the child’s property (called “estate”), or
  • · Both

Guardianship is not the same as adoption. There are major differences. In a guardianship:

  • · Parents still have parental rights
  • · Parents can have reasonable contact with the child
  • · Court can end guardianship if parents become able to care for child
  • · Guardians can be supervised by the court

In an adoption:

  • · Parent’s rights are permanently ended
  • · Legal relationship with adopted parents is permanent and is exactly the same as a birth family
  • · Adoptive families are not supervised by the court

There are many reasons a child might be in need of a guardian, and they usually stem from difficulties parents have in loving or caring for their children. Guardianship could result if one or both parents have to go into rehab for a while, are going to jail for a while, have a serious physical illness, are in the military and have to go overseas, have drug or alcohol abuse problems, have a history of abuse, or can’t take care of their children for other reasons.

The courts will always look at what is in the best interest of the child to make sure the child is raised in a safe, stable, and loving environment. A legal guardian can care for a child when the parents aren’t able to do so.

Ventura Family Law Center

If a child you know or love is in need of a legal guardian, you are going to want an experienced attorney you can trust to help you protect that child. Our family law attorneys have many years experience and the compassion necessary to handle guardianships and adoptions. We care about you and the children you love. Contact us today.