California Probate Code
(a) A relative or other person on behalf of the minor, or the minor if 12 years of age or older, may file a petition for the appointment of a guardian of the minor.
(b) The petition shall request that a guardian of the person or estate of the minor, or both, be appointed, shall specify the name and address of the proposed guardian and the name and date of birth of the proposed ward, and shall state that the appointment is necessary or convenient.
(c) The petition shall set forth, so far as is known to the petitioner, the names and addresses of all of the following:
(1) The parents of the proposed ward.
(2) The person having legal custody of the proposed ward and, if that person does not have the care of the proposed ward, the person having the care of the proposed ward.
(3) The relatives of the proposed ward within the second degree.
(4) In the case of a guardianship of the estate, the spouse of the proposed ward.
(5) Any person nominated as guardian for the proposed ward under Section 1500 or 1501.
(6) In the case of a guardianship of the person involving an Indian child, any Indian custodian and the Indian child's tribe.
(d) If the proposed ward is a patient in or on leave of absence from a state institution under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Mental Health or the State Department of Developmental Services and that fact is known to the petitioner, the petition shall state that fact and name the institution.
(e) The petition shall state, so far as is known to the petitioner, whether or not the proposed ward is receiving or is entitled to receive benefits from the Veterans Administration and the estimated amount of the monthly benefit payable by the Veterans Administration for the proposed ward.
(f) If the petitioner has knowledge of any pending adoption, juvenile court, marriage dissolution, domestic relations, custody, or other similar proceeding affecting the proposed ward, the petition shall disclose the pending proceeding.
(g) If the petitioners have accepted or intend to accept physical care or custody of the child with intent to adopt, whether formed at the time of placement or formed subsequent to placement, the petitioners shall so state in the guardianship petition, whether or not an adoption petition has been filed.
(h) If the proposed ward is or becomes the subject of an adoption petition, the court shall order the guardianship petition consolidated with the adoption petition.
(i) If the proposed ward is or may be an Indian child, the petition shall state that fact.
(a) Except as provided in subdivisions (f) and (g), at least 15 days before the hearing on the petition for the appointment of a guardian, notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), (d), and (e) of this section. The notice shall be accompanied by a copy of the petition. The court may not shorten the time for giving the notice of hearing under this section.
(b) Notice shall be served in the manner provided in Section 415.10 or 415.30 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or in any manner authorized by the court, on all of the following persons:
(1) The proposed ward if 12 years of age or older.
(2) Any person having legal custody of the proposed ward, or serving as guardian of the estate of the proposed ward.
(3) The parents of the proposed ward.
(4) Any person nominated as a guardian for the proposed ward under Section 1500 or 1501.
(c) Notice shall be given by mail sent to their addresses stated in the petition, or in any manner authorized by the court, to all of the following:
(1) The spouse named in the petition.
(2) The relatives named in the petition, except that if the petition is for the appointment of a guardian of the estate only the court may dispense with the giving of notice to any one or more or all of the relatives.
(3) The person having the care of the proposed ward if other than the person having legal custody of the proposed ward.
(d) If notice is required by Section 1461 or Section 1542 to be given to the Director of Mental Health or the Director of Developmental Services or the Director of Social Services, notice shall be mailed as so required.
(e) If the petition states that the proposed ward is receiving or is entitled to receive benefits from the Veterans Administration, notice shall be mailed to the office of the Veterans Administration referred to in Section 1461.5.
(f) Unless the court orders otherwise, notice shall not be given to any of the following:
(1) The parents or other relatives of a proposed ward who has been relinquished to a licensed adoption agency.
(2) The parents of a proposed ward who has been judicially declared free from their custody and control.
(g) Notice need not be given to any person if the court so orders upon a determination of either of the following:
(1) The person cannot with reasonable diligence be given the notice.
(2) The giving of the notice would be contrary to the interest of justice.
(h) Before the appointment of a guardian is made, proof shall be made to the court that each person entitled to notice under this section either:
(1) Has been given notice as required by this section.
(2) Has not been given notice as required by this section because the person cannot with reasonable diligence be given the notice or because the giving of notice to that person would be contrary to the interest of justice.
(i) If notice is required by Section 1460.2 to be given to an Indian custodian or tribe, notice shall be mailed as so required.
Within 10 days after the petitioner in the guardianship proceeding becomes aware of any proceeding not disclosed in the guardianship petition affecting the custody of the proposed ward (including any adoption, juvenile court, marriage dissolution, domestic relations, or other similar proceeding affecting the proposed ward), the petitioner shall amend the guardianship petition to disclose the other proceeding.
(a) Unless waived by the court, a court investigator, probation officer, or domestic relations investigator may make an investigation and file with the court a report and recommendation concerning each proposed guardianship of the person or guardianship of the estate. Investigations where the proposed guardian is a relative shall be made by a court investigator. Investigations where the proposed guardian is a nonrelative shall be made by the county agency designated to investigate potential dependency. The report for the guardianship of the person shall include, but need not be limited to, an investigation and discussion of all of the following:
(1) A social history of the guardian.
(2) A social history of the proposed ward, including, to the extent feasible, an assessment of any identified developmental, emotional, psychological, or educational needs of the proposed ward and the capability of the petitioner to meet those needs.
(3) The relationship of the proposed ward to the guardian, including the duration and character of the relationship, where applicable, the circumstances whereby physical custody of the proposed ward was acquired by the guardian, and a statement of the proposed ward's attitude concerning the proposed guardianship, unless the statement of the attitude is affected by the proposed ward's developmental, physical, or emotional condition.
(4) The anticipated duration of the guardianship and the plans of both natural parents and the proposed guardian for the stable and permanent home for the child. The court may waive this requirement for cases involving relative guardians.
(b) The report shall be read and considered by the court prior to ruling on the petition for guardianship, and shall be reflected in the minutes of the court. The person preparing the report may be called and examined by any party to the proceeding.
(c) If the investigation finds that any party to the proposed guardianship alleges the minor's parent is unfit, as defined by Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the case shall be referred to the county agency designated to investigate potential dependencies. Guardianship proceedings shall not be completed until the investigation required by Sections 328 and 329 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is completed and a report is provided to the court in which the guardianship proceeding is pending.
(d) The report authorized by this section is confidential and shall only be made available to persons who have been served in the proceedings or their attorneys. The clerk of the court shall make provisions for the limitation of the report exclusively to persons entitled to its receipt.
(e) For the purpose of writing the report authorized by this section, the person making the investigation and report shall have access to the proposed ward's school records, probation records, and public and private social services records, and to an oral or written summary of the proposed ward's medical records and psychological records prepared by any physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist who made or who is maintaining those records. The physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist shall be available to clarify information regarding these records pursuant to the investigator's responsibility to gather and provide information for the court.
(f) This section does not apply to guardianships resulting from a permanency plan for a dependent child pursuant to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(g) For purposes of this section, a "relative" means a person who is a spouse, parent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, first cousin, or any person denoted by the prefix "grand" or "great," or the spouse of any of these persons, even after the marriage has been terminated by death or dissolution.
(h) In an Indian child custody proceeding, the person making the investigation and report shall consult with the Indian child's tribe and include in the report information provided by the tribe.
(a) Each court or county shall assess (1) the parent, parents, or other person charged with the support and maintenance of the ward or proposed ward, and (2) the guardian, proposed guardian, or the estate of the ward or proposed ward, for court or county expenses incurred for any investigation or review conducted by the court investigator, probation officer, or domestic relations investigator. The court may order reimbursement to the court or to the county in the amount of the assessment, unless the court finds that all or any part of the assessment would impose a hardship on the ward or the ward's estate. A county may waive any or all of an assessment against the guardianship on the basis of hardship. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the assessment would impose a hardship if the ward is receiving Medi-Cal benefits.
(b) Any amount chargeable as state-mandated local costs incurred by a county for the cost of the investigation or review shall be reduced by any assessments actually collected by the county pursuant to subdivision (a) during that fiscal year.
(a) To the extent resources are available, the court shall implement procedures, as described in this section, to ensure that every guardian annually completes and returns to the court a status report, including the statement described in subdivision (b). A guardian who willfully submits any material information required by the form which he or she knows to be false shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Not later than one month prior to the date the status report is required to be returned, the clerk of the court shall mail to the guardian by first-class mail a notice informing the guardian that he or she is required to complete and return the status report to the court. The clerk shall enclose with the letter a blank status report form for the guardian to complete and return by mail. If the status report is not completed and returned as required, or if the court finds, after a status report has been completed and returned, that further information is needed, the court shall attempt to obtain the information required in the report from the guardian or other sources. If the court is unable to obtain this information within 30 days after the date the status report is due, the court shall either order the guardian to make himself or herself available to the investigator for purposes of investigation of the guardianship, or to show cause why the guardian should not be removed.
(b) The Judicial Council shall develop a form for the status report. The form shall include the following statement: "A guardian who willfully submits any material information required by this form which he or she knows to be false is guilty of a misdemeanor." The form shall request information the Judicial Council deems necessary to determine the status of the guardianship, including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) The guardian's present address.
(2) The name and birth date of the child under guardianship.
(3) The name of the school in which the child is enrolled, if any.
(4) If the child is not in the guardian's home, the name, relationship, address, and telephone number of the person or persons with whom the child resides.
(5) If the child is not in the guardian's home, why the child was moved.
(c) The report authorized by this section is confidential and shall only be made available to persons who have been served in the proceedings or their attorneys. The clerk of the court shall implement procedures for the limitation of the report exclusively to persons entitled to its receipt.
(d) The Judicial Council shall report to the Legislature no later than December 31, 2004, regarding the costs and benefits of utilizing the annual status report.
(a) Upon hearing of the petition, if it appears necessary or convenient, the court may appoint a guardian of the person or estate of the proposed ward or both.
(b) In appointing a guardian of the person, the court is governed by Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 3020) and Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 3040) of Part 2 of Division 8 of the Family Code, relating to custody of a minor.
(c) The court shall appoint a guardian nominated under Section 1500 insofar as the nomination relates to the guardianship of the estate unless the court determines that the nominee is unsuitable.
(d) The court shall appoint the person nominated under Section 1501 as guardian of the property covered by the nomination unless the court determines that the nominee is unsuitable. If the person so appointed is appointed only as guardian of the property covered by the nomination, the letters of guardianship shall so indicate.
(e) Subject to subdivisions (c) and (d), in appointing a guardian of the estate:
(1) The court is to be guided by what appears to be in the best interest of the proposed ward, taking into account the proposed guardian's ability to manage and to preserve the estate as well as the proposed guardian's concern for and interest in the welfare of the proposed ward.
(2) If the proposed ward is of sufficient age to form an intelligent preference as to the person to be appointed as guardian, the court shall give consideration to that preference in determining the person to be so appointed.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except provisions of law governing the retention and storage of data, a family law court shall, upon request from the court in any county hearing a probate guardianship matter proceeding before the court pursuant to this part, provide to the court all available information the court deems necessary to make a determination regarding the best interest of a child, as described in Section 3011 of the Family Code, who is the subject of the proceeding. The information shall also be released to a guardianship investigator, as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 1513, acting within the scope of his or her duties in that proceeding. Any information released pursuant to this section that is confidential pursuant to any other provision of law shall remain confidential and may not be released, except to the extent necessary to comply with this section. No records shared pursuant to this section may be disclosed to any party in a case unless the party requests the agency or court that originates the record to release these records and the request is granted. In counties that provide confidential family law mediation, or confidential dependency mediation, those mediations are not covered by this section.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, no guardian of the person may be appointed for a minor who is married or whose marriage has been dissolved. This section does not apply in the case of a minor whose marriage has been adjudged a nullity.
(a) In each case involving a petition for guardianship of the person, the petitioner shall mail a notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition, at least 15 days prior to the hearing, to the local agency designated by the board of supervisors to investigate guardianships for the court. The local social services agency providing child protection services shall screen the name of the guardian for prior referrals of neglect or abuse of minors. The results of this screening shall be provided to the court.
(b) This section does not apply to guardianships resulting from a permanency plan for a dependent child pursuant to Section 366.25 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(a) A proceeding to have a child declared free from the custody and control of one or both parents may be brought in the guardianship proceeding pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12 of the Family Code, if all of the following requirements are satisfied:
(1) One or both parents do not have the legal custody of the child.
(2) The child has been in the physical custody of the guardian for a period of not less than two years.
(3) The court finds that the child would benefit from being adopted by his or her guardian. In making this determination, the court shall consider all factors relating to the best interest of the child, including, but not limited to, the nature and extent of the relationship between all of the following:
(A) The child and the birth parent.
(B) The child and the guardian, including family members of the guardian.
(C) The child and any siblings or half-siblings.
(b) The court shall appoint a court investigator or other qualified professional to investigate all factors enumerated in subdivision (a). The findings of the investigator or professional regarding those issues shall be included in the written report required pursuant to Section 7851 of the Family Code.
(c) The rights of the parent, including the rights to notice and counsel provided in Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800) of Division 12 of the Family Code, shall apply to actions brought pursuant to this section.
(d) This section does not apply to any child who is a dependent of the juvenile court or to any Indian child.
This part does not apply to guardianships resulting from the selection and implementation of a permanent plan pursuant to Section 366.25 or 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. For those minors, the applicable sections of the Welfare and Institutions Code and Division Ia (commencing with Rule 1400) of Title Four of the California Rules of Court specify the exclusive procedures for establishing, modifying, and terminating legal guardianships. If no specific provision of the Welfare and Institutions Code or the California Rules of Court is applicable, the provisions applicable to the administration of estates under Part 4 (commencing with Section 2100) govern so far as they are applicable to like situations.