Throughout California, there is a significant number of children in need of a caring, loving, and stable home. Far too often, for whatever reason, these children are unable to receive such a home from their parents. Although some of these children are adopted by relatives, family friends, or foster parents, that is not the only option available to families. Guardianship can also be considered.
Before a guardianship can be established, though, certain processes must be completed. To start, a guardianship petition must be filed with the court. There are a number of parties who can file the petition, including a child's parent, the proposed guardians, and even the state if the child is currently a ward of the state. Once the petition is filed, the court will set it for a hearing.
At that hearing, the court will make a determination regarding whether guardianship with the prospective guardian is in the child's best interests. This decision is based on a number of factors, which can include the results of a home study, background checks for criminal and child abuse history, and whether the child would approve of the guardianship. A prospective guardian will also need to confirm to the court that he or she understands the nature of a guardianship and is committed to it. If a court deems that these factors indicate that guardianship is in the child's best interests than an order appointing a guardian will be issued.
Guardianship isn't right for every family, but for some, it can be a great way to provide a child with a stable home while his or her parents try to find a way to better care for him or her. Sometimes guardianship matters are contested, which can make the matter much more complicated. Those who want assistance in navigating this process can speak with a legal professional of their choosing.