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Legal Guardianship in California

Los Angeles Family Lawyers

If you are a grandparent, close relative, or close personal friend acting as a child's caregiver, and you're thinking about guardianship, it's vital that you find a family attorney with substantial experience in legal guardianships. At Castellanos & Associates, we have over 40 years of combined experience in child custody cases, probate guardianships, and adoptions.

Not only do we offer decades of legal excellence, but in uncontested guardianship cases, our firm can offer you a flat rate. We believe in delivering exceptional value without sacrificing legal competence, skill, and knowledge. Ready to learn more about obtaining legal guardianship in Los Angeles? Set up your free, no-obligation consultation with our firm today!

Understanding Legal Guardianship

The appointment of a legal guardian most commonly occurs when a caregiver, a grandparent or some other close relative, is caring for a child because the natural or biological parents cannot. Once the guardian is appointed by the court, the parents' rights to care, supervision, and custody of the child are suspended and given to the legal guardian. Any interested party can file the petition. In fact, in California a child of 12 or older can exercise their right to nominate their own guardian.

Some of the key responsibilities of a probate guardian of a child include:

  • Determining where the minor lives;
  • Ensuring that the child has food, clothing, and shelter;
  • Providing supervision for the child;
  • Enrolling the child in school; and
  • Ensuring the child has proper medical care.

If the child has inherited significant property, it is possible for an adult to obtain a guardianship over the child's estate or property as well. Unlike most other family law cases, guardianships occur in probate court.

Some of the important responsibilities of a probate guardian of the estate are:

  • Controlling and preserving the assets of the estate property;
  • Avoiding any conflicts of interest (i.e., self-dealing or using the property for personal profit or gain and taking part in a transaction involving an interest adverse to the minor's);
  • Managing the minor's property for the child's benefit until the age of 18.

Whatever the case, the court may order an investigation before it makes its decision. If this occurs, you, the child, and any other persons deemed essential will probably be contacted about the case. The investigator will give the court a report and make a recommendation on what should occur. At that stage, the case may go to trial. The court may grant the petition, or may find that there are insufficient grounds to establish a guardianship.

If you need more information about obtaining a guardianship, please contact one of our Los Angeles guardianship attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation today.

Getting Temporary Guardianship

In some cases, a local child protective services agency worker informs a grandparent or other close relative that a child is about to be placed in foster care unless a temporary guardianship is obtained. In other cases, there is fear that a parent who is unfit will return and remove the child from a stable environment after that child has bonded with a grandparent or other close relatives.

If you are in a situation where there is an emergency or an urgent need to obtain a temporary guardianship of the person, estate, or both, the court may appoint you as a legal guardian of the child upon a showing of "good cause," until the court can later make a final decision on whether or not to appoint you as the guardian.

If you need to discuss your options, or if you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a grandchild or other child left in your care, call one of our lawyers today to discuss your options for obtaining a temporary guardianship.

Our Flat Fee Guardianship Services

For an uncontested guardianship of the person in Los Angeles County, you can find a $399 flat fee at Castellanos & Associates, APLC (this fee does not include filing fees, investigation fees, or other court costs, which are in addition to the flat fee amount for our legal services).

So what does that really mean to you? Our firm is committed to controlling costs so our clients are not typically charged for reasonable, domestic, or in-state telephone calls, faxes, or photocopies. In addition, we do not charge a fee for the initial consultation with a guardianship lawyer from our law firm. In some cases, we may provide you with a flat fee arrangement, or we can discuss with you an alternative payment plan to help you protect your family.

Call Our L.A. Guardianship Attorneys

If you have a minor child living with you because their natural or biological parents are unable to provide stability and care for that child, you should call and schedule a free initial consultation with a guardianship lawyer from Castellanos & Associates, APLC. We can also help you understand alternatives to legal guardianship so that you can provide a stable future for a child, and we can discuss the differences between legal guardianship and adoption.

If you speak Spanish, please inform us at the time you schedule your consultation so you can meet with our experienced Spanish-speaking guardianship lawyer, Edwin J. Castellanos. Call our Los Angeles firm today!