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Family Law
Family Law

Newport Beach Guardianship Lawyers

Legal Guardianship Lawyers in Newport Beach, CA

In most cases, a child’s parents are responsible for taking care of them. To ensure parents can effectively fulfill their responsibilities, they have the authority to make legal decisions for their children regarding healthcare, contractual agreements, and more. Similarly, the parents or caretakers of an adult who lacks the mental capacity to make their own legal decisions must have the freedom to exercise legal authority on their behalf.

At Sullivan Law & Associates, we have a proud history of delivering world-class legal representation for Orange County families in the promotion of their best interests. Legal guardianship disputes in California can be incredibly complex and difficult to navigate. With nearly 50 years of experience, our attorneys can expertly guide you through this process and while protecting your rights and best interests. Contact our Newport Beach guardianship lawyers at Sullivan Law & Associates at (949) 590-8100 today to learn more about how we can promote your legal interests.

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Navigating California Guardianship Laws

Under California law, the court can appoint a legal guardian to make decisions on behalf of minor children and incapacitated adults. Relatives and unrelated parental figures may obtain legal guardianship over a minor child if doing so would be in the child’s best interest. 

Suppose the grant of guardianship would interfere with the parental rights of the child’s current living parents. In that case, the court must determine whether parental custody of the child would be harmful to the child’s safety and well-being. We can help you navigate through the following guardianship issues:

  • Temporary guardianship
  • Minor children guardianship
  • Parental rights litigation
  • Incapacitated adult guardianship
  • Disability and incapacitation hearings
  • Terminating guardianship

Understanding Temporary Guardianship In California

When you are granted temporary guardianship of a child in California, you assume all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. During the guardianship order, the biological parents’ rights are suspended, which means they cannot make decisions for the child. 

It’s important to understand that temporary guardianship does not permanently terminate parental rights; it only suspends them for the duration of the order. As the child’s guardian, you have full legal and physical custody, empowering you to make decisions on behalf of the child.

  • You have the authority to determine the school your child attends and access to all their school records.
  • You have the power to decide where your child resides, although you cannot relocate them outside of California without court permission.
  • You are responsible for meeting your child’s medical needs and generally have the authority to give consent for their medical treatment. However, if the child is 14 or older, you can only consent to their surgery if they agree or if there is a court order, except in emergencies.

Aside from your primary obligations, you will also be entrusted with additional responsibilities as a guardian. These may encompass providing financial support for the child and addressing any misconduct on their part. 

Depending on the specifics of your case, the court may require you to attend counseling or parenting classes or arrange for specific services for the child. While each case is unique, your attorney can assist you in navigating the necessary steps tailored to your situation.

Different Types Of Guardianships In California

Guardianship Of The Person

When appointed as a court-appointed guardian of a child, you assume the same responsibilities for their care as a natural parent. This entails having both legal and physical custody, granting you the authority to make decisions regarding your physical well-being. 

Your duties encompass providing for all aspects of the child’s needs, including supervision, nutrition, clothing, shelter, safety, protection, physical and emotional development, medical and dental care, as well as education.

Guardianship Of The Estate

When appointed as a court-appointed guardian of a child’s estate, your responsibility will be to oversee and manage their income, investments, and other assets until they reach the age of majority, which is 18 years old. This guardianship may become necessary if the child inherits money or assets while their parents are absent or deceased. 

Typically, the surviving parent would be designated as the guardian of the child’s estate. However, in cases where the minor’s real and personal assets exceed $5,000, this type of guardianship may be required.

Establishing Guardianship In California

Given the complex nature of guardianship and the extensive information involved in court proceedings, it is highly advisable to enlist the assistance of a skilled attorney to navigate the process. At Sullivan Law & Associates, our experienced guardianship lawyers in Newport Beach possess the expertise to effectively guide you through the journey of establishing guardianship. Below, you will find a concise overview of the steps involved in establishing guardianship in California:

  • Filing guardianship paperwork
  • Giving notice of guardianship application to pertinent parties
  • Undergoing a court investigation
  • Attending a court hearing

Guardianship vs. Adoption California

In the past, the terms “guardianship” and “adoption” have often been used interchangeably. However, it’s crucial to recognize that these terms have distinct and separate meanings. When a court grants guardianship, it confers legal custody of a child upon the guardian. This does not involve adopting the child but rather assumes legal authority over them until the court terminates the guardianship, appoints a new guardian, or until the child reaches the age of 18.

Under a guardianship arrangement, if the parents’ circumstances improve and they can demonstrate their ability to care for the child, the child can be returned to them. On the contrary, official adoption permanently terminates the biological parent’s parental rights to the child. Furthermore, while guardianships are supervised by the probate court, adoptions are not subject to court supervision once they are finalized.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Guardianship And Custody Of A Minor Child?

A guardian refers to a non-biological parent who possesses the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child’s physical and legal matters. Custody, on the other hand, can only be granted to the child’s biological parents and involves additional court determinations concerning decision-making responsibilities and parenting time.

Who Can Be Appointed As A Guardian?

Any individual who is not a biological parent of a child has the potential to become a guardian. Nevertheless, the court’s inclination is for children to stay with their parents. Thus, anyone seeking guardianship faces a substantial burden of proof to demonstrate that it is truly in the child’s best interest.

When Is Guardianship Of A Child Necessary?

In some situations, parents may face difficulties in providing the essential stability, safety, and nurturing care that their child requires. While there is no doubt about the love parents have for their children, certain circumstances may hinder their ability to fulfill their parental duties. The following are common circumstances often observed in guardianship cases in California.

  • Serious medical problems
  • Severe mental illness
  • Military deployment overseas
  • Jail and prison time
  • Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol)
  • Physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse

Contact Our Newport Beach Guardianship Lawyers Now

Legal matters regarding guardianship are very important. Legal guardian status gives a person immense authority regarding the legal rights of another person. Whether you intend on inhabiting a parental role over a child or acting as a caretaker for an adult who is incapacitated, you should consult an experienced guardianship attorney in Newport Beach for legal advice.

At Sullivan Law & Associates, we have valuable experience representing the legal interests of families throughout Orange County. We are committed to delivering useful legal services to help ensure your legal rights are preserved. To schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated Newport Beach guardianship lawyers, call Sullivan Law & Associates at (949) 590-8100 or contact us online today.