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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Probate: Probate FAQ: Guardianship FAQ

Guardianship Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does a guardianship last?
  2. How long does it take for the court to grant a guardianship?
  3. What if there is an emergency and I need a guardianship right away?
  4. May I file for just a temporary guardianship for a specific period of time?
  5. How do I find out if there is a guardianship already in place for a child?
  6. I was appointed guardian of the person of my grandchild. Do I need to do anything further with the court?
  7. I am the guardian of a child and we are moving to another state.  Do I have to let the court know?
  8. As a guardian, can I let the child return to live with their parent or other relative?
  9. How do I end a guardianship?
  10.There are so many forms to complete. Can someone at the court help me?


1. How long does a guardianship last?

Once a guardianship is granted by the Probate Court, it remains in effect until the minor reaches the age of 18 or until a petition to terminate the guardianship is granted.

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2. How long does it take for the court to grant a guardianship?

From the time the petition for guardianship is filed, it may take up to two months for the guardianship to be granted. The amount of time depends on the proper notice to relatives and a completed investigation as to the appropriateness of the guardianship.

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3. What if there is an emergency and I need a guardianship right away?

If you have filed a petition for guardianship and there is an immediate need for the court to appoint someone due to an emergency, you may file an ex parte petition for temporary guardianship of the minor. A temporary guardianship is granted only if there is a true emergency, such as the minor needing immediate medical treatment. The temporary guardianship is only in place until the general guardianship is heard.

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4. May I file for just a temporary guardianship for a specific period of time?

NO. A temporary guardianship is only for an emergency until the court can hear the general guardianship.

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5. How do I find out if there is a guardianship already in place for a child?

You may search the court's index under the child's name. If there is a guardianship, the index will indicate a case number assigned to the case. With the case number you may visit the court to determine if the guardianship was granted, who was named as the child's guardian, and if the guardianship is still in effect.

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6. I was appointed guardian of the person of my grandchild. Do I need to do anything further with the court?

YES. One year after your appointment and every year thereafter, you must file a Confidential Guardianship Status Report (GC-251). The court will mail you a Notice of Hearing approximately 90 days before your review hearing date and the form for you to complete and mail back to the court. You must also always keep the court informed of your current address. If you move within the State of California, you must complete and mail to the court the Change of Residence Notice (GC-080).

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7. I am the guardian of a child and we are moving to another state. Do I have to let the court know?

YES. You must have the court's permission before moving a child under guardianship from California.  You may obtain this permission by completing the form Petition to Fix Residence Outside the State of California (GC-085) and filing it with the court that appointed you guardian. This process may take some time to complete, so you should file the form as soon as you know you will be moving.  

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8. As a guardian, can I let the child return to live with their parent or other relative? 

No. You cannot give permission for the child to live elsewhere without court permission.  As the court-appointed guardian, you are legally responsible for the child. The child's residence must remain with you as long as the guardianship is in place.

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9. How do I end a guardianship?

It will depend on why you want to end the guardianship.  The most common reasons are:

  • A guardianship of the person only, automatically ends when the minor reaches age 18. Please call the court and ask that the guardianship be closed.
  • The parent is capable of resuming care of the child and the guardianship is no longer needed. You or the parent will need to file form Petition for Termination of Guardianship (Form GC-255).
  • You are no longer able to care for the child and wish to have someone elso named as guardian.  You or the new guardian will need to file all the same forms used to start the original guardianship.  The procedure for appointment of a successor guardian is the same as for the original appointment.  You will need to sign a declaration that you are resigning as guardian and state the reason for the resignation.

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    10. There are so many forms to complete.  Can someone at the court help me?

    Court staff cannot give legal advice.  Please see Helpful Links for programs that may assist you.



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