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Guardianships Information

A probate guardianship is a court proceeding in which a judge gives custody of a child under the age of 18, or the child’s property, or both, to someone who is not the parent.  The proceeding giving custody of a child to a non-parent caregiver is called a “Guardianship of the Person” and the proceeding giving the power to manage a child’s property is called a “Guardianship of the Estate.”

Guardianship Resources

The following resources are available to help you with your 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.  Phone: (530) 822-3305.
  • Judicial Council pamphlet Guardianship Packet for Guardianships of Children in the Probate Court. (Form GC-205)

Guardianships FAQs

Click on the frequently asked questions below for more information.

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.

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.

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:

Find Your Court Forms

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.

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.

  • 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.

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