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What does a guardianship do? +
The guardianship allows the guardian to provide health insurance coverage, enroll a minor in school, receive assets or benefits on behalf of the minor and provide other necessary care and protection
Where can I get assistance in filling out the forms? +
The Self-Help Center offers a clinic to assist with the filling out of forms required to file for a Guardianship of the Person (clinic calendar). The Self-Help Center does not provide any assistance with Conservatorships or Guardianships of the Estate. A Guardianship Investigation Questionnaire is due at the time of filing of the Guardianship. Please click the link below for that additional form.
The Conservatorship Handbook is available online at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/handbook.pdf
When is a guardianship necessary? +
A guardianship may be necessary when a minor's parents are not able or willing to provide care.
How is a guardianship established? +
If an adult wishes to be the legal guardian of a minor, or if a minor over the age of twelve wants to request a guardianship, a petition must be filed in the Civil Division of the Sutter County Superior Court, 1175 Civic Center Blvd., Yuba City, CA 95993.
The clerk's office will set a court hearing. Family Court Services or Child Protective Services will conduct an investigation to determine the suitability of the petitioner to have the guardianship of the minor. The report of this investigation will be sent to the court for the Judge’s consideration. At the hearing, the court will make a determination as to whether or not the guardianship is necessary and if the petitioner is suitable. Family Court Services will only conduct the investigation if the petitioner is related to the minor. If the petitioner is not related to the minor, Child Protective Services will conduct the investigation.
What if this is an emergency situation? +
A petition for Temporary Guardianship can be filed along with the Petition for Guardianship to cover the period of time between the filing and the hearing date.
What happens after the petition is filed? +
The filing of a guardianship petition triggers an investigation by Family Court Services. All proposed guardians must fill out and submit a Guardianship Investigation Questionnaire. This questionnaire should be completed and submitted at the time of filing the petition for guardinahip. An investigator will interview the proposed guardian, any children over the age of five and any other agencies or individuals able to provide information to the court. The investigator will conduct background checks of the proposed guardian, and all adults in the proposed guardian’s home. An inspection of the proposed guardian’s home will also be conducted. If either parent objects to the guardianship, they will subjected to the same provisions of the investigation. The investigator will prepare a report for the court’s consideration.
How long does the investigation take? +
The investigation process will begin after you file your petition and will be completed before your hearing date. A guardianship investigation typically takes four to six weeks to complete.
Is there a fee associated with the investigation? +
A fee of $50.00 per hour is charged for the investigation.
What if someone contests the guardianship? +
If a parent contests the guardianship, the court may order a full investigation of all parties. The court may also order Sutter County Child Protective Services to conduct an investigation into the appropriateness of a parent having custody of the child. Reports of these investigations are provided to the court for the Judge’s consideration.
How long is the guardianship in effect? +
The guardianship will generally remain in effect until the court terminates the guardianship by court order, or will terminate by law when the minor reaches the age of eighteen. At any time, anyone may file a petition to terminate the guardianship. The court will order an investigation at that time. For termination to occur the court must determine it to be in the best interest of the minor. Even if the guardian and the parents agree to terminate the guardianship, the court must make an order for termination.
How does the court monitor a guardianship? +
When a guardianship is established, the judge will set it for a review hearing in approximately one year. Guardianships are reviewed annually until the guardianship is terminated or the child reaches the age of 18. About three months before the review hearing, an investigator will send the guardian a Guardianship Status Report (click here for a copy), which is to be completed and returned along with a copy of the child’s most recent report card. The investigator will review that information and submit it to the court for the judge to review. The judge may then take the matter off calendar and set it for another annual review or send the guardian a minute order requesting their presence at the hearing.