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Guardianship Investigations

What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a court ordered transfer of legal responsibility to a specific adult for the physical care and protection of a minor and/or the estate of a minor. A legal guardianship gives custody of the minor to a person other than a parent.

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.

Guardianship Information & FAQs

Click on the topics and FAQs below for more information on a guardianship.

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.

Guardianship Investigation Questionnaire

The Conservatorship Handbook is available online at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/handbook.pdf

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The goal of the court is to provide you free language access services if you do not speak, write, read or understand English well. The court provides interpreters at no cost in all criminal, traffic, juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, and other mandated case types. The court will also provide interpreters at no cost in civil and family law case types including Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, Elder or Dependent Abuse, Unlawful Detainer, Termination of Parental Rights, Conservatorships, Guardianships, and all Family Law cases.

A guardianship may be necessary when a minor's parents are not able or willing to provide care.

For a criminal, traffic, juvenile deliquency, juvenile dependency or other mandated case type:

If you need an interpreter in a criminal, traffic, juvenile deliquency, juvenile dependency or other mandated case type, you or your attorney may request one in person from any clerk at the counter when filing your case or via email to the Interpreter Coordinator at the email address listed below.

Please make such requests at least a week before your hearing.

For these case types you may also submit your request to the courtroom staff at the time of your hearing. However, if you wait until the date of your hearing to request an interpreter, you may have to wait until an interpreter can be contacted, or your hearing may be continued to a future date.

For a civil or family law case type, including Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, Elder or Dependent Abuse, Unlawful Detainer, Termination of Parental Rights, Conservatorships, Guardianships, or any Family Law case:

If you need an interpreter in a civil or family law case type, including Domestic Violence, Civil Harassment, Elder or Dependent Abuse, Unlawful Detainer, Termination of Parental Rights, Conservatorships, Guardianships, or any Family Law case, you or your attorney must submit form INT-300 to the court, either in person, via email or via mail.

Please make these requests at least one week before your scheduled hearing.

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.

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.

Requests may be submitted in person or via mail at:
1175 Civic Center Boulevard

Yuba City, CA 95993

Or via email to:

InterpreterCoordinator@suttercourts.com

You may also call the Interpreter Coordinator office at (530)822-3401 to request an interpreter for a mandated case type or for more information or assistance.

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 guardianship.

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.

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.

To start e-filing, you must select your service provider here or click the link below.

e-filing service providers

An electronic filing service provider (EFSP) provides an online service to help you file your documents and acts as the intermediary between you and the Court's Case Management System. Each EFSP offers a variety of additional services, and you should evaluate which provider meets your filing needs. Once you pick the EFSP you would like to use for electronic filing, you will be able to go through their tutorial on how to do electronic filing.

For more information on how to start e-filing, go to the FAQ’s page.

The Court has published local rules regarding electronic filing. 

A fee of $50.00 per hour is charged for the investigation.

Documents should be submitted in searchable PDF format, and searchable PDF/A is preferable. PDF/A is a format which excludes those PDF features that give rise to concerns about the ability to archive documents. Newer scanners allow users to directly create a PDF/A. Users with older scanners can use a conversion tool (such as Acrobat 9) to convert scanned documents to PDF/A.

Please include the hearing date in the filing description box along with a complete description of the document being filed/document served.

Example:

"HRG 05/01/18 Opposition…or HRG 04/17/18 Proof of Service of…”

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.

If a proposed order is submitted to the court electronically in a case in which the parties are electronically filing documents, the parties must comply with the requirements of California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1312(c).

Editable versions of proposed orders, as required by Rule 3.1312(c), shall be sent to: efile@suttercourts.com.

The Court will continue to accept the following documents in hard copy form:
  • Bench warrants;
  • Deposits of cash or check except for jury fee deposits; Labor Commissioner deposits of cash or check;
  • Trial exhibits;
  • Bonds;
  • Undertakings;
  • Letters issued by the Probate Court;
  • Wills/Codicils;
  • Sealed documents;
  • Financial institute documents, care facility documents, or escrow documents as defined under Probate Code Section 2620; and
  • California state vital records forms.

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.

California Rule of Court, Rule 2.257 outlines requirements for signatures on documents submitted electronically to the court. Digital signatures are not required. If you choose to utilize digital signatures, please contact your electronic filing service provider for reference materials.

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.

Guardianship Status Report form

For technical support, please contact your electronic filing service provider.

For case-specific questions, please contact: (530) 822-3300.

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