Grandparents Seeking Child Custody in California

Grandparents can play a very important role in their grandchildren’s lives. They can provide unconditional love and support and they can be a positive influence. Sometimes, life circumstances make it so a grandparent wishes to seek visitation of their grandchildren or they may even petition the court for custody.

If you are a grandparent who wants to ask the family court to let you see your grandchildren, it will be important to determine if it is “visitation” or “custody” that you are seeking. If you simply want to be able to visit with your grandchild, then it is visitation that you are interested in.

If you want your grandchild to live with you full-time because his or her parents are incarcerated, absent for some reason, on drugs, mentally ill, physically abusive, or they have taken off and you can’t find them, it is custody you are seeking. However, the term used is not custody, but “guardianship” in this case. When a grandparent wants guardianship (custody) of a grandchild, it is a separate court process and is not the same as asking for visitation rights.

Guardianship of a Grandchild

If you are a grandparent and the court orders you to have custody of your grandchild, it is called “guardianship” in California. Guardianship means to have custody of someone else’s child or to manage a child’s estate, or it can mean to have custody of a child and manage the child’s estate (property).

If Child Protective Services (CPS) has been involved in your grandchild’s case, you will need to connect with the juvenile court to find out what your next step will be. To learn more about guardianships in juvenile court, contact an attorney at our firm.

A California probate guardianship is set up when a child lives with someone who is not their mother or father. Since caregivers need to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as those revolving around education and medical care, the caregiver needs to obtain a court order so they can execute these decisions on the child’s behalf. Probate guardianships apply to children who are under the age of 18.

To learn more about seeking visitation or guardianship of a grandchild, contact our firm to schedule a case evaluation.