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Guardianship & Adoption

S ometimes, parents are not able to take care of their children in a safe way. When that happens, a family member or friend can step in as a guardian. Sometimes this is done in an effort to avoid the child being removed from the family by Child Protective Services (“CPS”).



A guardianship is a process by which someone, other than the parents, is given custody of the child or authority over the child’s property.
A written Petition must be filed and approval of the court must be given. As a guardian, that person has the duty to provide food, shelter, medical/dental care and for educational needs. The guardian is responsible for the safety, protection and physical and emotional well-being and growth of the child.

Parental rights are not terminated by a guardianship, only suspended. As a guardian, that person is legally liable for any harm and damages willfully caused by the child. As a guardian, that person may have financial record keeping requirements, as well as complying with other rules and laws.

If the parents do not agree to a guardianship being put in place, the person who wants to be the guardian will have to attend a court hearing and convince the judge why a guardianship is necessary.

The written laws regarding some types of adoptions are found in Family Code Section 8600, et seq.


Having a skilled, local attorney help with these issues can make a difference between success and failure.