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guardianship duties

After you become guardian, you have most of the same legal duties and responsibilities as a parent.

Click on a topic to learn more about:

  1. What happens after the hearing?
  2. Do I need to stay in touch with the Court?
  3. What is a blocked account?
  4. Am I responsible for supporting the child?
  5. Am I responsible for the child’s behavior and any damages the child may cause?
  6. Can I let the child stay with his/her parents or anyone else?
  7. Do I decide about the parents’ contact with the child?

For more information on Guardianships, see more Self-Help pages about Guardianship.


  1. What happens after the hearing?

    If the Court appoints you as guardian of the person or estate, a Court Investigator will give you an orientation after the hearing.

    The orientation tells you about what the Court expects you to do. You will also get a handbook called Probate Guardianships: Rights and Responsibilities.

    The Court Investigator also will tell you about the yearly review (Guardianship Status Report) that you will have to complete. You must sign a paper saying the Investigator told you about the yearly review.

  2. Do I need to stay in touch with the Court?

    Yes. Every year, the Court will mail a Guardianship Status Report form (GC-251) to your address. You will fill it out and return it to the Court. If you do not, you may be removed as the guardian.

    If the Court has any concerns, they may monitor your situation.

    If you are a Guardian of the child’s Estate, you must file an accounting one year after you become guardian. After that, you must file a report every two years, unless:

    • The estate is worth less than $7,000 and there is less than $1,000 per month income from non-public assistance sources.
    • All Guardianship funds are in blocked accounts.

  3. What is a blocked account?

    A blocked account is when a bank, brokerage firm or other financial institution says no withdrawals can be made without a Court order. Often, an account will stay blocked until the child turns 18.


  4. Am I responsible for supporting the child?

    In most cases, the biological parents still have the legal responsibility for supporting their child. If the parents don’t help support the child, you can take legal action to get child support. But, if you can’t get support, you are responsible for supporting the child.

    Contact the:
    Department of Child Support Services
    880 Ridder Park Drive
    San Jose, California 95131

    Or call them at: 866-901-3212 , toll-free 

    You may be able to get help from the government, like TANF, Social Security, Veterans Administration, or Indian Child Welfare Benefits.

    For more information, contact:

    Santa Clara County Social Services Agency
    Assistance Application Center
    1919 Senter Road
    San Jose, CA 95112
    (408) 271-5600 

    Social Security Administration:
    800-772-1213 
    TTY 800-325-0778

    Veterans Administration:
    800-827-1000 
    TTY 800-829-4833

    Remember: Any money you get for the child must be used for that child's benefit. The Court may ask you to file reports from time to time showing how much money you received for the child and how it was spent. The Court calls this kind of report an accounting.

  5. Am I responsible for the child’s behavior and any damages the child may cause?

    Yes, in most cases. guardians, like parents are responsible for any harm or damages the child causes intentionally, including graffiti.

    There are special rules about harm caused by firearms. If you are concerned about liability, talk to a lawyer.
     
  6. Can I let the child stay with his/her parents or anyone else?

    Absolutely NOT. The child must live with you unless there is a court hearing and a judge says otherwise.
     
  7. Do I decide about the parents’ contact with the child?

    In general, yes. You get to make appropriate decisions. But, the Court can order you to allow visitation.

    If you are worried about the child’s safety, ask the Court for supervised visitation.

More Self-Help pages about Guardianship

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara