IMPORTANT: If you are caring for a child who has been abandoned, physically or verbally abused,
assaulted, neglected or otherwise abused, call the CPS hotline at 858-560-2191 or 1-800-344-6000.
IF THE CHILD IS IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911.
Protocol for Guardianships in The Juvenile, Family, Probate, and Domestic Violence Courts
What is a guardianship?
Probate guardianships are court proceedings in which a judge gives custody of a child, and/or the power to manage a child's property, to someone who is not the parent of the child. A guardianship can be of the Person or the Estate.
What is a guardianship of the person?
Guardianship of the Person is filed to appoint someone other than a parent to care for a minor and to make day-to-day decisions concerning the child's well-being. The person appointed by the court is called the guardian, and assumes legal responsibility for the child.
When the court chooses you as a guardian of the person, this means you:
- arrange for the child's care and protection;
- have control and charge of the child's education, health care and personal needs.
What is a guardianship of the estate?
Guardianship of the Estate is filed to appoint someone to make financial decisions regarding a child's income, money or other property and to preserve the estate until the child turns 18. Parents and non-parents can become guardians of a child's estate.
When the court chooses you as a guardian of the estate, this means you:
- manage the minor's finances prudently;
- protect the minor's income and property;
- make a list of everything in the estate; and
- file accountings with the court.
What type of investigation is involved with becoming a guardian?
To become a guardian, the Probate Court requires an investigation to be completed according to (Prob. Code §1513d). There is a fee for this investigation.
If you are a relative of the minor, an investigation is completed by Family Court Services.
If you are a non-relative, you will need to contact Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA Guardianship Unit) at 8911 Balboa Ave., San Diego, CA 92123. The phone number is (858) 650-5712.
If you are applying for guardianship of the estate only, contact the Court Investigator's unit of the San Diego Superior Court.
What is a temporary guardianship?
A temporary guardianship may be requested when a minor needs immediate help. A general guardianship must be set for hearing before or at the same time as the request for a temporary guardianship. A temporary guardianship expires within 30 days or on the date of the general hearing, whichever comes first.
What are the alternatives to temporary or general guardianship?
If the sole purpose of requesting a temporary or general guardianship is to enroll the minor in school or to authorize medical treatment, a caregiver may complete a Caregiver's Authorization Affidavit. The affidavit authorizes the caregiver whether related or unrelated, to enroll the minor in school. If the caregiver is a relative, the affidavit may also be used to consent to medical and dental treatment.
What forms do I need to start a guardianship?
The following forms must be completed and brought to the court to start your guardianship. You must bring the original and one copy of each completed form:
Once your Petition for Appointment of Guardian of Minor Person is filed, you will also need to complete and file the following forms at least two weeks before your hearing date. You must bring the original and one copy of each completed form:
If the court grants your petition for guardianship, you must complete and file the following forms before your appointment is effective. You must bring the original and one copy of each completed form:
Guardianship of Person Timeline
Definition of Terms
Any person under the age of 18 and not married.
Any person appointed by the court to care for a minor or the minor's estate.
Any person filing a petition for appointment of a guardian.
Family Court Services. When the proposed guardian is a relative of the minor, FCS interviews all parties and prepares a confidential report for the court.
Health & Human Services Agency. When the proposed guardian is not a relative of the minor, HHSA interviews all parties and prepares a confidential report for the court.
Court staff that review petitions set before the court.
Summary of relief sought in a petition with notations of errors that need to be corrected before the hearing. (See Examiner Notes page)
Errors noted in the examiner notes, preceded by "NEED", which must be corrected before the hearing.
An emergency temporary appointment to protect a minor until the general guardianship can be heard by the court.
Any situation that would most likely cause harm.
A proceeding taking place on short notice in an emergency situation.
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program
Legal Aid Society of San Diego, INC.
Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) (Form FLF-001)
California Courts Self-Help Center