How To Establish Guardianship

Family law courts in California recognize that a child may benefit from the positive influence of many caregivers, including grandparents. For this reason, a variety of creative visitation arrangements are available after divorce, including grandparent visitation rights.

Many families never formally address this issue because the grandparents already play an informal role in the child's life. However, if a formal visitation arrangement is desired, the court will examine whether the grandparent had a pre-existing relationship and whether reasonable visitation would be in the child's best interests. In addition, the court will balance that interest against the parents' rights to make decisions for their child.

Alternative Custodial Arrangements

However, there may come a time when a parent is no longer able to care for a child. A parent may voluntarily consent to a temporary guardianship arrangement. The parent generally can cancel this arrangement at any time.

George R HorriganIn involuntary situations, a grandparent or other relative may seek legal intervention because a parent is no longer able to care for a child. The legal process is called a third-party custody request if brought in a California family law court, or a guardianship request if brought in a California probate court. In either forum, the relative must demonstrate a pre-existing relationship and that a termination of parental rights would be in the child's best interests, perhaps because the current home environment places the child in danger.

Contact A Skilled Guardianship Attorney

If you have concerns about the care of your grandchild, we can explore your legal options. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our Bakersfield, California, office at 661-489-7634, or contact us online.

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