What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is a court proceeding for appointing someone to be legally responsible for a minor.  A guardian must be appointed by a court.  Most commonly, a guardianship is necessary when a minor’s parents are unable to take care of him or her – whether due to a parent’s death or illness, drug, or alcohol issues.  That type of guardianship is called a “guardianship of the person” because it involves only physical custody and control of a child.  Also, a “guardianship of the estate” of a minor is necessary to manage a minor’s assets.  For example, if a minor inherits money or other assets that exceed $5,000.00, a parent or other adult will need to petition the court to be appointed as the guardian of the estate for that child to manage his or her assets until that child reaches the age of 18.

Step-Parent Adoption

A step-parent may adopt a step-child after the child’s biological parent’s rights have been terminated.  A parent’s rights may be terminated with that parent’s consent or without that parent’s consent, after notice and a hearing to determine the appropriateness of terminating parental rights. Once terminated, the step-parent’s petition will be considered by the judge after a social worker investigates the family and makes a recommendation to the judge.

Contact our guardianship and adoption attorney

We are experienced attorneys who understand the legal requirements of these complex legal proceedings.  We provide experienced and effective guidance, advice, and representation to the family throughout the guardianship or adoption process.  Contact the Law Office of Emily J. Buchbinder at (831) 462-1313 or fill out our confidential contact form to speak to our experienced attorneys and learn more about guardianship and adoption.  Our attorney, Amy R. Henderson, has extensive experience with guardianships and adoptions, having spent ten years as a judicial research attorney for the Santa Cruz County Superior Court.  Amy reviewed the paperwork filed in all guardianship matters, researched the issues and law, made recommendations to the judges about how the judges should rule, and attended all guardianship hearings.  Amy also reviewed adoption paperwork, made recommendations to the adoption judge, and attended the weekly adoption hearings. 

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