The term “conservatorship” may be familiar if you’ve been watching the Brittany Spears case unfold. But it can also be a foreign word if you moved to California from another state. Regardless of the title, you understand that your child or a kid you know needs altered custody arrangements or property management while they’re underage.
Physically or emotionally abusive parents are common reasons a child needs new authority figures to watch over them. They could be in danger of future harm or serious personal injury. But you as the parent could also be going overseas in the military for a time or have an extended work trip, and need someone to take over for a time.
Our team wants to show the legal options you have to care for and supply the child with the love and monetary support they need. What other states’ legislation or the internet may have misled you on is that a conservatorship may not be your path forward in California.
Guardianship vs. Conservatorship for Minors
Courts will use these legal options interchangeably, depending on the state you live in. However, California distinguishes the two, so you understand what you’re searching for through the law.
Conservatorships provide incapacitated adults personal and financial care when they cannot help themselves. The person must be 18 or over, where the law cannot decide for them and violate their civil rights. And you must see signs of mental illness, serious physical disabilities, or other symptoms the judge would qualify for a conservatorship.
In contrast, a judge would need to appoint a guardian if they require someone to take temporary custody of their person and manage their property. This legal arrangement is called a guardianship and anyone suitable to care for the kid can become a guardian, whether a relative or friend.
Also, there must be certain active circumstances to gain court approval for a guardianship on behalf of a minor. And if your kid or a minor you know reaches the age of 18, they have outgrown a guardianship and the court order will be ineffective.
What you may not know is that you are probably searching for a guardianship for your child in California rather than a conservatorship. However, you can establish a limited conservatorship if they have developmental disabilities, such as autism or down’s syndrome, and need assistance into adulthood. You must set up a limited conservatorship before the child turns 18, otherwise, they can make decisions on their own.
Caring for Your Minor’s Person & Estate
Guardians ensure they take care of your child or a child you know by caring for their person and/or estate. These two roles encompass their comprehensive needs according to the law and leave nothing behind. A judge will send a notice of hearing for an official court discussion on what all the involved parties believe the child requires.
Your child’s estate includes any money they’ve acquired and property they might inherit from a death in the family or a parent. A guardian of their estate has the right to spend that money to benefit the child and invest it where necessary, such as their education and medical treatments. In addition, they can manage the kid’s property when they are under 18, so they are prepared to take over when they become an adult.
Most people like yourself are more familiar with general custody or the duties of a guardian of their person. The court appoints someone to give the child food, clothing, shelter, and general safety. Their responsibilities also extend toward decisions in the child’s life on their behalf that deals with medical treatment and education.
When Can I Petition for a Guardianship?
Pursuing legal action against the child’s current parents is not something you can accomplish without a judge approving your rationale. They have to sign off on your petition before your documentation ever becomes a case.
Similar to conservatorships, the parents must be unable to care for the child to secure a guardianship for the minor. Although serious physical/mental illnesses, abusive history, and jail are difficult reasons, they could be more practical. For example, you as the parent may understand you will be away from your child for an extended time period and want someone else to step in your place temporarily.
Legal Action for Your Child
Even if you understand guardianship basics for your child, you may not know how to petition and what forms you need. It could also be that you have a child with developmental disabilities that needs access to a limited conservatorship. We can help sort out your questions for whatever legal action you need to take for your child.
The specific requirements for conservatorships and guardianships can be confusing, and we do not desire the county court to deny your petition.
You can set a consultation with our team to figure out how to protect and care for the child by calling (800).840.1998. Their legacy is important, and helping them with estate planning and personal development is crucial for them to live as healthy adults.
Our force of talented attorneys is glad to hear more about your situation and provide clear advice on what your next step is.