You have a beautiful grandchild. When the baby was born, you felt so much joy- but then reality hit. Your daughter cannot care for your grandchild. If you do not step in, your grandchild will not be properly cared for. It is an agonizing decision. How do you protect your grand baby without alienating your own child? As a grandparent, do you have any legal rights? What is the process to allow the child to live with you?
A guardianship is an action filed in probate court giving an adult control of a child under the age of eighteen years old) who is not their own. There are two types of guardianships: over the person and over the estate. The most common type of guardianship established in the state of California is a guardianship over the person.
Guardianship of the person: A guardianship of the person is generally granted when neither natural parent of the child is not available, for whatever reason, to have custody of the child. A guardianship of the person is most likely to be granted when a natural parent nominates the guardian, or the parent is unable to care for the child due to neglect, abuse or abandonment. If the court deems that a guardianship is necessary and determines who is the best person to raise the child, it will then establish a guardianship that will last until the child reaches the age of eighteen years.
In order to obtain custody through a guardianship action, you must show that the children are better off with you, submit to a criminal background check, and submit to an inspection of your home with the child present. A social worker will then write a report and submit it to the court, either advising that the guardianship be established or denied. Once the guardian obtains custody, the guardian will then have all the powers and all the obligations toward the child as if the child was his/her own biological child. It will be up to you to ensure the children’s health, welfare, and safety needs are met. This includes making all educational and medical decisions for the child; providing the child with food, shelter and clothing; and stepping into the shoes of a parent.