Westlake Village Guardianship Lawyer

Looking to obtain custody of a child who is not your own?

The California Courts define guardianship as a court order that designates someone other than the child's parent to have custody of the child, manage the child's property or "estate," or both. Guardianship is common in cases where the child's birth or blood parents are incapable of caring for the child financially, physically, and / or emotionally. Examples include cases of domestic abuse, drug abuse, mental disorders, imprisonment, rehabilitation, or military deployment of the child's parent(s). Anyone may be granted guardianship, although it is most commonly granted to a close relative or family friend who has a strong relationship with the child.

Guardianship is not to be confused with adoption - although the guardian has the right to make legal decisions for the child and has custody, the child's parent(s) still have rights to reasonable contact with their child. The court can also cancel guardianship at any time and return the child to the custody of their parent or parents. Until that time, the guardian has the responsibility of caring for the child's physical, educational, financial, and emotional needs.

How to Obtain Guardianship in California

Guardianship is granted through a court order, which means that you will need to file a Petition for Appointment of Guarding of the Person with California's family law court and proceed through a number of legal steps and hearings in order to awarded guardianship. This can be a difficult and lengthy process if the child's parent or parents are in denial or are unwilling to relinquish custody. Even if they are compliant with your petition, you still need the assistance and representation of a Westlake Village divorce attorney to help you obtain custody of a child that is not your own.

Consult a Thousand Oaks Family Law Attorney

Looking for the help of an experienced divorce lawyer in Westlake Village, CA? Attorney Richard Ross has over 30 years of legal experience and is a Certified Family Law Specialist. Our firm is more than qualified to guide you through the guardianship process and to represent you in court. We can build a strong argument on your behalf based on excellent investigation of the details of your case Contact Us today!


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    “Richard Ross is a subject matter expert in the field of family law.”


  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.