When many people think of situations that require hiring a lawyer, they think of a car accident where someone else crashed into them, a bitter and highly contested divorce, or getting fired from a job because of a disability or protected condition.
Not many people think that they’ll need to call a lawyer if they ever decide to become the guardian of a child, but it’s one of the most important steps you can take during the process. Becoming the guardian of a child is an extremely complex process in California, and it’s easy for a mistake to derail the process and cause significant delays or result in your request being denied.
The Judicial Council of California Recommends Hiring a Lawyer
The California Courts system has its own website and pages about various aspects of the courts system, including self-help pages about family-related issues. Its page about becoming a guardian recommends hiring a lawyer:
“In order to become a guardian, you must file papers with the court and go through a number of steps leading up to a court hearing. In general, you do not have to have a lawyer. But it takes quite a bit of time and energy to fill out your court forms and to “give notice” to all relatives. And most people make mistakes.
The forms and rules for notice are complicated. If you do not follow them carefully, you will have to come back to court and it will take more time to process your case. Sometimes a lawyer can help you present your case to the court, especially if one or both parents object to the guardianship.”
You’ll Need to Fill Out Multiple Forms Accurately and On Time to Be Considered
Becoming a guardian requires completing a significant amount of paperwork. This paperwork must be completed accurately, in full, and submitted on time to meet various deadlines throughout the guardianship process. As the California Courts system mentions in the quote above, one mistake is all it takes to delay or derail the process entirely.
A few forms you’ll need to fill out include:
- Petition for Appointment of Guardian of the Person
- Guardianship Petition—Child Information Attachment
- Notice of Hearing—Guardianship or Conservatorship
- Consent of Proposed Guardian, Nomination of Guardian, Consent to Appointment of Guardian and Waiver of Notice
- Duties of Guardian
- Letters of Guardianship
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
- Confidential Guardian Screening Form
- Parental Notification of Indian Status
- Order Appointing Guardian or Extending Guardianship of the Person
These are just some of the forms required by the state of California. You also may be required to complete additional forms to satisfy the requirements of your local court.
If these forms contain errors, omissions, or are submitted late, you may run into major headaches trying to get your application approved. Having an experienced California family law attorney on your side can make the process go much faster and more smoothly, while also giving you peace of mind knowing that your forms are completed as required.
There Are At Least 12 Major Steps that Must Be Completed to Become a Guardian
Filling out a huge stack of forms is just one step of the lengthy process for becoming a guardian. There can be up to 12 steps according to the California Courts system website, some of which have lengthy sub steps that must be completed.
Completing each individual step and its sub-steps in the proper order and on time can be a huge undertaking, especially if you don’t have any experience with the California family law system or the legal system in general. In fact, becoming a guardian on your own can be the equivalent of working a full-time job for weeks or months while you complete all the required steps.
Get Professional Legal Assistance and Peace of Mind by Contacting Our Firm
Becoming the guardian of a child should be an exciting and joyous time for you and your loved ones. It gives you an opportunity to dramatically change a young person’s life for the better by bringing them into your home during a time where they need stability, resources, and love. But becoming a guardian isn’t easily accomplished, especially on your own.
At The Law Office of André J. Ausseresses, APC, we can assist with every aspect of the guardianship process from beginning to end. We know how important it is for you to get your application approved, but we also know you have limited time, energy, and resources to getting it done correctly and on time.
Let us put our years of experience to work for you and that special child in your life. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to find out how we can assist you during this lengthy, complex, but highly rewarding process.
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