Who may be a legal guardian?

Relatives, friends of the family, or other interested persons over the age of 18 may be considered as potential legal guardians.

A guardian of the person has full legal and physical custody of the child.

A guardian of the estate manages the child’s income, money or other property.

What are a guardian’s responsibilities?

A guardian has fundamentally the same responsibilities for a child as a parent.  Those responsibilities include providing for the child’s:

  • Food, clothing and shelter
  • Safety and protection
  • Physical and emotional growth
  • Medical and dental care
  • Education and any special needs

If a guardian of the estate is included, the guardian must also manage the child’s funds and assets until the child turns 18 and present periodic reports to the Court.  

How do I become legal guardian?

To become the legal guardian of a child, you must complete and file documents with the court along with a filing fee (link).  You can obtain the form packet from the court or go to the Judicial Council website:

Is there help available to fill out the paperwork?

  • Judicial Council self-help website
  • Guardianship Clinic workshop is available by contacting the Sutter County Family Law Self-Help Center located at 1175 Civic Center Blvd. Yuba City, CA 95993 (530) 822-3305.
  • Judicial Council pamphlet Guardianship Packet for Guardianships of Children in the Probate Court. (Form GC-205)

Will the court investigate and will i have to pay for it?

Yes, an appointed Court Investigator will do a full report that may include:

  • a visit to the home where the child will live;
  • personal interviews with the child and the proposed guardian(s);
  • a review of available documents such as medical or school records;
  • telephone interviews with the people involved to confirm information;
  • a legal and criminal record check for history of neglect, abuse or criminal activity

The court may order a fee for the Court Investigator’s report based on the time required to conduct the investigation and ability to pay.

Will i be required to come to court after the guardianship granted?

You are required to provide the court with the yearly Judicial Council form  GC-251 Confidential Guardianship Status Report and may be required to attend yearly Progress Review hearings.

When does the guardianship end?

  • The child turns 18; or
  • The child dies; or
  • The child is adopted; or
  • The child’s assets are used up (for a guardianship of the estate); or
  • A judge decides the guardianship is no longer necessary.