Guardianship of a minor is a court-ordered transfer of care, custody, and control of a child to a nonparent. It is a usually a temporary order granting custody to a grandparent or other relative for a set amount of time or until the child turns 18. A guardian may be appointed if the legal parents cannot properly provide for the child, but can also be appointed by agreement between the parents and a caregiver. For example, a single parent who is in the military may appoint her mother or aunt as a guardian while she is overseas.
During a guardianship, the parents retain their status as legal parents, but the appointed guardian is responsible for caring for and making decisions in the best interest of the child. This includes determining where the minor lives, making sure the minor is properly fed, clothed, and sheltered, supervising the minor’s conduct, making sure the minor is enrolled in and attending school, and making sure the minor has proper medical care.
Depending on the situation, guardianship of a minor may be initiated by the court or by a relative of the child. Generally, the court will order a temporary guardianship while it conducts an investigation and then make a more permanent order. The legal parents of the child can request that the court terminate the guardianship at any time.
If you have questions about a guardianship, contact Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083.