Riverside County Law Library


Research guide on Guardianship

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is a custody order giving someone other than the parent legal custody of a minor.

What are the differences between guardianship, conservatorship and adoption?

Guardianships are temporary; the custody rights end when the minor becomes an adult.
Conservatorships are not for minors. Conservatorships are for adults who need “significant care.”
Adoption is a permanent parent-child relationship.

What kind of guardianship is right for you?

There are two kinds of guardianships in California; guardianship of the person and/or guardianship of the estate.

Guardianship of the person requires the adult to be responsible for the child’s well-being.
Guardianship of a minor’s estate can be used if the minor has substantial assets, such as through an inheritance.

Reference: Brown, D., & Doskow, E. (2011). The guardianship book for California: How to become a child's legal guardian. (8 ed., pp. 3-5). Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press.

Online resources:

The Superior Court of California Self-Help
Provides an informational overview of the guardianship process including links to forms.

The Superior Court of California, County of Riverside Self-Help
Provides guardianship packets, Judicial Council and local forms, videos, brochures and charts. Also discusses the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) available for those that qualify- flyer (pdf)

The US Department of Health and Human Services
Provides links to various examples from other states.

Bridging Refugee Youth & Children’s Services
Provides PowerPoints and fact sheets about caring for non-biological children.

Print resources:

Title: Guardianship Book for California: How to Become a Child’s Legal Guardian (R) (I)
Publisher: Nolo Press
CallNo: REF KFC 134 .B76 2011
ISBN: 9781413313604
Description: This book provides a concise overview of the guardianship process in California.

Title: A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples (R) (I)                      
Publisher: Nolo Press
CallNo: REF KF 539 H4 2012
ISBN: 9781413316810
Description: This book provides blank forms that readers can use as templates. It covers gay rights, with a brief section on guardianship including foster parents, wills, and standby guardians.

Title: California Jurisprudence 3d, v.35A (R) (I) (T)
Publisher: Nolo Press
CallNo: KFC 65 C343 2013
Description: California Jurisprudence, also known as CalJur, is a legal encyclopedia. Volume 35A covers guardianship and conservatorship providing references to code sections and cases.

Title: California Guardianship Practice 2013 (R) (I)
Publisher: CEB
CallNo: CEB KFC134 C3 2013-
ISBN: 9780762619580
Description: This book contains templates of forms and citations to cases and is useful for those beginning or in the middle of a guardianship case.

Call Numbers are for use in RCLL. Initials specify which library the item can be located (R)-Riverside (I)-Indio (T)-Temecula

ISBN Numbers are for use outside of the library, such as for personal purchase.

Pertinent Codes:

Probate §1500; Family §7635

Please Note: The information presented in this research guide is intended to provide a foundation for legal research. For information pertaining to your case please consult with an attorney, court facilitator or specialist.