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How Long Does Temporary Guardianship Last in California?

03/25/2024 | Blog
Adult Holding Child’s Hands In Palms

Sometimes, we need to give someone other than a child’s biological parent temporary responsibility for a child. This is known as temporary guardianship. But how do guardianship agreements work, and how do you decide what’s in the interests of the child?

Guardianship is highly complex. We recommend you seek legal advice if you have a guardianship concern. But in the meantime, here’s an overview of temporary guardianship in CA and how long the arrangement lasts.

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship gives an adult aged over 18 legal responsibility for a child. You can make various decisions for the child, including decisions around:

  • Medical treatment
  • Financial affairs
  • Education
  • Residence

Guardianship is similar to adoption, but there’s a key difference. Adoption ends a biological parent’s parental rights. Guardianship suspends those rights temporarily but doesn’t end them.

What Is Temporary Guardianship?

There are two major types of guardianship: permanent guardianship, and temporary guardianship.

  • Permanent guardianship means a person takes responsibility for a child for prolonged period.
  • Temporary guardianship is an emergency measure which gives an adult interim custody of a child.

Individuals who seek temporary guardianship are usually close relatives, such as grandparents. However, any adult can petition for temporary guardianship.

When Is Temporary Guardianship Granted?

Every family situation is unique. However, courts may grant temporary guardianship if the parent(s) can’t care for the child due to:

  • Incarceration
  • Severe illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Incapacity

In short, the courts won’t award temporary guardianship unless there’s a clear, urgent need to do so. It must be in the child’s best interests to have a temporary guardian appointed.

How do you prove what’s in the best interest of the child? This is when it’s crucial to seek legal advice. Anyone filing for temporary guardianship must present compelling evidence to support their case. Our guardianship attorneys can explain what evidence you might need.

How to Get Temporary Guardianship in California

It can take a few months to award permanent guardianship in California. Therefore, the courts allow individuals to file for permanent and temporary guardianship at the same time. You can act as temporary guardian while the court considers the permanent guardianship petition.

  • First, you seek permanent guardianship. You must declare your relationship with the child.
  • At the same time, you petition to become the temporary guardian. If you’re seeking emergency guardianship of the child’s estate, too, then file a separate petition.
  • You must provide notice of the proposed guardianship to interested parties e.g., the parents.
  • If a judge is satisfied that a temporary guardianship order is suitable, they’ll grant it.

How Long Does Temporary Guardianship in California Last?

Permanent guardianship lasts for a number of years or longer. Temporary guardianship usually only lasts a few months. Rarely does temporary guardianship last more than six months.

Temporary guardianship can be renewed with a new court petition, if required. But the court can also end guardianship if they find that it’s no longer in the child’s best interests. They may appoint a different guardian.

How to Get Your Child Back From Temporary Guardianship

You can’t normally appeal a temporary court order because it’s simply that – temporary. But once the order ends, this is your chance to show why it should not be renewed.

For example, perhaps you have recovered from a serious illness. You are now ready to resume your parental responsibilities. Or you’re now able to provide a stable home environment. In all such cases, you can ask the court to dismiss the petition to award guardianship.

The court will only restore your parental rights if it’s in the child’s interests. Given how much is at stake for your family, don’t try to handle matters alone. Call our firm instead for advice and guidance on building a case.

Every child deserves stability and certainty. If you have a guardianship case, our family law attorneys can help. We will explain what action must be taken and support you through the legal process.

Protect a child’s best interests. Get legal advice from the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo. Call now or leave a message online to schedule a meeting.