How to Become a Minor Child's Guardian in California when Child Protective Services (CPS) is Involve
Normally, when parents appoint a guardian or guardians under the terms of their wills, such appointments will be handled under California's Probate Code Section 1500, et al, following the parents' deaths. Although courts are not required to support parents' testamentary nomination of guardians, they give such choices great deference.
When the parent(s) of minor children are still alive and not legally incapacitated, however, and one wants to establish guardianship over such children, the process is different. California's Welfare and Institution's Code is the basis for the establishment of guardianships in these scenarios instead of the Probate code. In other words, it is the juvenile dependency court, and not the probate court, who decides with whom the children should be placed.
In such situations, individuals who have cared for minor children in their parent(s)' absence and who desire to establish guardianship over such children should apply to be their "de facto" parents. This allows them to attend the Juvenile Dependency Court hearings held on the children's behalves and to request that they be appointed the children's guardians. More information on de fact parent applications can be found on the following website: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv299.pdf
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