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Who Can File For Guardianship?

Guardianship in California is the court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a minor child or given the authority to manage a child’s estate. The petition for guardianship can be filed by a relative or “any other person on behalf of the minor.” Usually we see family members petitioning to become the guardians of their grandchildren, nieces or nephews or maybe siblings.

In the recent case of “Octomom” Nadya Suleman who gave birth to octoplets in January 2009, it was not a relative but a “stranger” who petitioned the court for a guardian of the estate to be appointed for the children, claiming that an independent person should oversee the children’s finances if they were going to earn money from reality TV shows and sellling photos.

The Court in Orange County first ruled in favor of the “stranger” who was a self-professed child advocate, who filed the guardianship petition through his attorney Gloria Allred. The Court appointed a guardian ad litem to investigate the matter and report back to the Court. Recently though a Court of Appeals Court has ruled that although the California Probate Code does legally allow a “stranger” to file a petition for guardianship, he or she must show evidence of actual financial mismanagement by the parent. The Court dismissed the petition because there was no evidence that Octomom was mismanaging the childrens’ money.

At Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation we handle guardianships of the person and of the estate. Sometimes family members or friends need to be appointed the guardian of a minor child whose parents for some reason, are permanently or temporarily unable to care for their child. Call us if we can assist you.

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