In California, “guardianships” are established for children i.e., anyone under the age of 18 years. Children never have ability to make legal, financial or even medical decisions for themselves. Guardianship are appropriate when a child is unable to live with a parent, or if they are entitled to money, for reasons such as a personal injury settlement or inheritance. Children who are not living with a parent may need a guardian of their person — someone to make medical and health care decisions for them.
A guardianship proceeding begins when someone files a petition in the Superior Court alleging that the appointment of a guardian is required. A family member, a friend, or more rarely than in the cases of an adult, a professional guardian may be the petitioner. The petition is fairly detailed, but we take great care to make sure that the child and his or her family are treated with dignity and respect regardless of the circumstances that bring them to our office.
We have been involved in numerous guardianships, representing the family members who are usually seeking to be appointed as the guardians.As of now, we still charge only $360.00 an hour for our work in guardianship proceedings but there are certainly exceptions such as when a tragedy has occurred and the child is penniless, and a sliding scale or discounted rate can be discussed. In any case, guardians and their attorneys must wait for specific court approval before they are paid for their services. This is one of the many ways that the court makes certain that the child’s best interests are protected.