Guardianship, which is granted by the court, is when someone other than the child’s parent is to have custody over a child, and/or manage the child’s property or estate. Guardianship is not the same as adoption. When a court appoints a “guardian,” the parents retain parental rights and can reasonably communicate with the child. The court can also end a guardianship if the parents become able to care for the child. Further, the court can supervise a guardian.
Today, with more and more frequency, relatives and grandparents are stepping in to help raise children. Guardianship is a key tool to make sure that the care provider of the children have the necessary authority to make decisions and care for the children.
A probate guardianship is usually sought when a child under 18 is living with an adult who is not the child’s parent, but the adult needs to make decisions on behalf of the child. The only way to make those decisions is with a court order awarding guardianship. There are different types of guardianships. Some guardianships can be awarded to a non-parent through the juvenile dependency court, which is different than probate guardianships. Special immigration juvenile status is also different than probate guardianships because those cases allow immigrant youths who are already 18, but under 21, to seek guardianship.