Certain aspects of child custody and a custody dispute might be relatively familiar to California residents, as most people can probably relate to the parents disagreeing over the arrangements. Some, however, might not know how a guardianship will be ordered and handled. Those who are facing a guardianship question need to understand how this process works. With a guardianship, a person who is not the parent of the child will be granted custody, be asked to manage the estate of the child or will do both.
Probate guardianships are brought by the individual who seeks to be the child's guardian or by another person in the family who would like the court to make an appointment of a guardian. With a guardianship, the parents will retain their parental rights and will have reasonable visitation rights. The guardianship will terminate if the parents are found to be capable of providing care for the child. The court has the right to supervise the guardians as they care for the child.
With a guardianship, the person who is designated as the guardian will be granted the same responsibilities that a parent would have. This means that the guardian has full custody - legal and physical - of the child, and makes the decisions regarding the child's care. A guardian can be a relative, a family friend or another person who is deemed suitable by the court. The guardian will provide a place for the child to live, as well as food, clothes, protection, education, medical care, dental care and any other aspect of care that arises. There are numerous reasons why a guardianship might be necessary, including a parent who is incarcerated, has addiction issues, is abusive or is physically or mentally ill.
In some instances, the parent might be involved in a custody dispute and does not want the child to be in a guardianship. In others, the guardian needs to remove the child from a damaging situation. The best interests of the child are paramount and those who are involved in such a situation need to make certain they are on firm legal ground in all situations related to guardianships.