March 29, 2017

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Guardianship FAQs
 

1. How fast can I obtain a temporary guardianship order?

In order to apply for temporary guardianship you must first have a permanent guardianship case open with the Court or apply for permanent guardianship at the same time you apply for temporary guardianship. The hearing for the temporary guardianship will be set approximately 30 days from the date of filing.

2. How fast can I obtain emergency temporary custody orders within a guardianship case?

A temporary custody order (TCO) can be requested when there are immediate or emergency needs to be addressed for the minor child/children. If the request is granted by the judge, the TCO can be used to retain temporary custody of the child pending the hearing on the appointment of the temporary or permanent guardian.

In order to apply for emergency custody orders you must first file an ex parte order for temporary custody. These orders typically take three to five business days for the judge to review and either grant or deny the request.

3. Do I have to pay any fees to file my documents?

Filing fees are required to be paid upon the filing of your first documents that open a case. If you are filing any additional documents, you can expect to pay the filing fee that is in effect as of the date of your filing. Please refer to the "Fee Schedule" link on the left side of this web page for current fee information.

In addition, you will be required to pay a court investigation fee for the Court to investigate the circumstances regarding the proposed guardians The fees are as follows:

$380.00 for relative guardianships (proposed guardians are relatives of the minor)

$300.00 for non-relative guardianships (proposed guardians are not related to the minor)

4. What if I cannot afford to pay my filing fees?

You may be eligible for a waiver of fees. Ask the clerk for a fee waiver packet and review the information sheet to see if you qualify. You must file an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs as well as an Application for Waiver of Additional Court Fees and costs in order to waive the filing fees and the investigation fees. Each proposed guardian must prepare a separate set of applications and orders.

File the following forms:

FW-001 - Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (Fee Waiver)
FW-003 - Order On Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs

FW-002 - Application for Waiver of Additional Court Fees and Costs
FW-004 - Order On Application for Waiver of Additional Court Fees and Costs

You will need to submit your orders and the applications to the Court for review when you go to file your paperwork to open the case.

Important Note: If fees are waived, your waiver is only good for a six month period and the Court may order payment of the waived fees and costs at a later date.

5. Where can I get additional information or assistance?

The following is a list of websites and resources available that you can copy and paste into your browser:

Judicial Council, Self Help Online. Excellent resource that explains the role of a guardian, the process and has forms available online to complete and file with the Clerk's Office:
http://www.stanct.org/sites/default/files/FinalLocalRules_July_1_2015.pdf

The Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus, Local Rules, Guardianships:
 http://www.stanct.org/sites/default/files/FinalLocalRules_July_1_2015.pdf

Facts About Guardianship - online questions and answers posted by Legal Services for Children:
http://www.lsc-sf.org

The Guardianship Book - How to Become a Child's Guardian in California:
by Nolo Press, Berkeley, CA - available for free use in your public library or at the Stanislaus County Law Library.

Stanislaus County Law Library, 1300 K Street, Modesto, CA:
http://www.stanislauslawlibrary.arrival.net/index.htm

Self-Help Center, The Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus:
http://www.stanct.org/self-help-center

6. Do I have to pay any fees to file my documents?

Filing fees are required to be paid upon the filing of your first document that opens a case or upon filing your first paper in any case. If you are filing any additional documents, you can expect to pay the filing fee that is in effect as of the date of your filing.

In addition, you will be required to pay a court investigation fee for the Court to investigate the circumstances regarding the proposed guardians. The fees are as follows:

$380.00 for relative guardianships (proposed guardians are relatives of the minor)

$300.00 for the non relative guardianships (proposed guardians are not related to the minor)

7. What if I can't afford to pay my filing fees?

You may be eligible for a waiver of fees. Ask the clerk for a fee waiver packet and review the information to see if you qualify. File the Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs along with the required information to verify your income. Submit the order to the Court for review.

You must also file an Application for Waiver of Additional Court Fees and Costs for the Court to consider waiving the court investigation fees along with the Order on the Application for Waiver of Additional Court Fees and Costs.

Important Note: If fees are waived, your waiver is only good for a six month period and the Court may order payment of the waived fees and costs at a later time.

8. Who has to be served with the Guardianship paperwork?

Both of the biological parents must be served with a copy of the guardianship paperwork. Any other interested parties involved in the case must also be served, but that is a determination you will have to make based on the circumstances of your particular case.

9. What is a TCO?

A temporary custody order (TCO) can be requested when there are immediate or emergency needs at issue for the minor child/children. If the request is granted by the judge, the TCO can be used to retain temporary custody of the children pending the hearing on the appointment of the temporary or permanent guardian.

10. What happens when I go to court?

At the time of your hearing several things may take place. The judge will review the case, question all appropriate parties and make a decision to either grant a petition or order or make an order of the Court to continue the matter over to another hearing date for further review. You do not necessarily need to be accompanied by an attorney - this is solely your choice whether or not you feel you need legal representation.

11. Who and what documents do I serve?

When filing documents with the Court, you must serve all interested parties with a copy of the petition and the Notice of Hearing, as well as any other pertinent documents regarding the matter.

12. Where can I get additional information or assistance?

Lawyers Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding an attorney. Their telephone number is (209)571-5727.

Books are available on this subject at your public library. The Guardianship Book - "How To Become a Child's Guardian in California" - By Nolo Press, Berkeley, CA. The Public Library is located at 1101 13th Street, Modesto, CA.

Stanislaus County Law Library is located at 1300 K Street, Modesto, CA.

Additional information is available through the Judicial Council Online Self-http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp.htm

Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus - www.stanct.org
Local Rules of Court, Rule 8, Probate, Guardianship, Conservatorship and Adoption Rules are available online at the Court's website.

Form packets are available for purchase at the Family Court Services Clerk's office at 800 11th Street, Room 221, Modesto, CA for Guardianship and Temporary Guardianship (used only if immediate orders for custody of a child/children are needed). The Family Court Services Clerk's office is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. You may also request information about having your filing fee waived by asking for a fee waiver packet.

Self Help Assistance - Assistance with completing Guardianship paperwork is available with a Self-Help clerk at 800 11th Street, Second Floor, Room 220, Modesto, CA.

Family Law Facilitator's Office - The Facilitator's office is not able to assist with starting, changing or terminating a Guardianship. However, the Facilitator's office CAN help you get and collect child support from the child(ren)'s parents after a guardianship is established.

Facts About Legal Guardianship - http://www.lsc-sf.org - Online questions and answers are posted by Legal Services for Children.

Department of Child Support Services for Stanislaus County - Child support establishment and enforcement only - no assistance is available for establishing guardianship, however, child support can be collected from the child(ren)'s parents after a guardianship is established.

Last updated: November 05, 2015 4:54 PM