California Courts Guardianship Self-Help
Guardianships, In General
Probate guardianships are filed when a parent is unavailable to participate in daily decision-making for their child, and there is a family member or a friend willing to assume this responsibility.
Guardianships can be of the person and/or estate, depending upon the circumstances. A guardianship of the person is filed to appoint someone to care for a minor, and to make the day-to-day decisions that a parent would otherwise make. Once appointed by the court, the guardian assumes legal responsibility for the child.
A guardianship of the estate allows the guardian to make financial decisions for a child, and is often filed when a minor is to receive a large monetary gift or inheritance. Both parents and non-parents can become guardians of the estate for children. In guardianships of the estate this court generally requires the funds to be placed into a blocked account, with all expenditures allowed only on prior court approval.
A probate guardianship is initiated by the filing of a PETITION FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN OF MINOR (Judicial Council Form GC-210)
Forms needed to apply for appointment of a permanent guardianship are:
- Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor (Judicial Council form GC-210)
- Notice of Hearing - Guardianship or Conservatorship (Judicial Counsel form GC-021)
- Confidential Guardian Screening Form (Judicial Counsel form GC-212)
- Duties of Guardian (Judicial Counsel form GC-248)
- Declaration under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (required for guardianship of the person only) (Judicial Counsel form MC-150)
- Guardianship Questionnaire (Local Form)
Once the Petition for Appointment of Guardian has been filed, the clerk will set the matter for hearing. The hearing will generally be set 60 to 75 days from the date of filing. The reason the hearing is set out 60 to 75 days is to give the Court Investigator time to complete his/her investigation. The Court Investigator will complete a background investigation on each proposed guardian, any adult living in the home where the minor will reside and for any person listed as a potential caregiver for the child.
A petition to appoint a temporary guardian can also be filed at the same time or subsequent to the petition for the appointment of a permanent guardian if the filing party feels there is a present emergency necessitating a temporary appointment. A Petition for Appointment of a Temporary Guardian is placed before the Judge on an ex parte basis, and the petitioner will have no opportunity to explain in person why the temporary guardianship is necessary. For this reason, it is recommended that the declaration in support of the temporary guardianship include detailed information about the present danger to the child, and that it include copies of any existing police reports, CPS recommendations, etc.
Court Investigators: Guardianship and conservatorship investigations are completed for the court by the court investigators. For questions regarding investigations, please call (559) 457-1888.
The Probate Division offers several different ways to assist with the filing of a guardianship petition.
- The Probate Clerk's filing counter has a self-help packet that instructs the user on how to fill out the forms necessary to petition for guardianship. The self-help packet is available in English and Spanish.
Twice per month, the Probate Division presents a class entitled Guardianship Basics Workshop. Guardianship Basics Workshop explains of the basic rules and steps to apply for guardianship.
When: 1st and 3rd Friday of every month
Time: 8:15 am to 12:00 noon.
Where: B.F. Sisk Courthouse, 1130 O Street, First Floor - Soley Conference Room, (corner of Fresno and O Streets).
Maximum capacity: 15. Class is filled on a "first come" basis.
What to Bring: Packet of Guardianship forms available for a fee of $5.00, at the downtown B.F. Sisk Courthouse, 1130 O Street, Third Floor – Room 300, Fresno, CA. The workshop is for adults only! Please do not bring children with you.
Alternatives to Guardianship
Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit (FC § 6550, et seq.)
Under Family Code Section 6550, any relative adult caregiver in whose home a minor resides may use this affidavit to enroll a minor in school and to authorize school-related medical care. If the person in whose home the minor resides is a relative of the minor as defined in Family Code section 6550(i)(2), the caregiver may authorize medical treatment to the same extent as a guardian, and without the consent of a parent. The court has no involvement in this process. Fresno County Court has the Caregiver's Affidavit form available at the Probate Clerk's filing counter.