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Sacramento Divorce Attorney Discusses Guardianships

Sacramento Divorce Attorney Discusses Guardianships

Lately, our office has fielded a bunch of calls from people interested in setting up guardianships for minor children either who are friends or family. One of the first questions is usually, what is a guardianship and why would a child need one?

A guardianship is established by a court order when the court appoints an adult, who is not the parent, to be responsible for a minor. This may occur if a parent is deceased, incarcerated or otherwise unable to care for a minor child. Guardianships are specific to children – where an adult is unable to care for themselves, the appropriate procedure is a conservatorship.

There are two types of guardianships: of the minor’s person, and of the minor’s estate. A guardianship of the minor’s person means the guardian has legal custody of the minor and is responsible for the minor’s well being. The guardian provides food, shelter, health care, and assumes responsibility over education and religious development, and can obtain medical treatment for the minor. A guardianship of the minor’s estate is not typical, unless the minor has substantial assets, usually from an inheritance.

Certain circumstances do not require a guardianship. These circumstances include short-term caregiving (up to 3 months), or a minor whose parents are living, or a stepparent caregiver. For situations such as these, it is useful to consider a Caregiver Authorization Affidavit, which allows the informal guardian to obtain medical care and enroll the child in school. A Guardianship Authorization form gives a nonparent caregiver a broader range of responsibility including applying for health insurance and obtaining benefits for a child.

Here at Sagaria Law, we offer a full range of family law and legal services including divorce, paternity, adoption, child custody and visitation matters, child support, spousal support, alimony, juvenile dependency, domestic violence, division of property, grandparent visitation and custody, etc. We have seven Northern California locations including San Jose, San Francisco, Redwood City, Fremont, Salinas, Roseville and Sacramento. We offer a free thirty minute consultation, either in person at any of our offices, or over the phone. Call our offices today and we can connect you with an attorney immediately or we can schedule your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys: (408) 279-2288 or (800) 941-6730 or visit