California Self-Help Law Center

After the Case

At the end of a court hearing, the judge will make a decision about what should happen next. He or she may decide that another hearing needs to be held. Or, he or she may make the decisions needed to set up the guardianship. If this is the last hearing, it is still not the end of the case.

For more information, you can go to Frequently Asked Questions to learn:

  • Who pays for the child's expenses?
  • What if the guardian wants to move?
  • Responsibilities as the child gets older.
  • When does the guardianship end?

NOTE: Once a guardianship has been established for a child under the age of 18 years, the court will not do anything else. If you want the court to do something else for you or the child, you will have to file additional papers with the court.

In California, if all of the paperwork needed for the court hearing was correctly completed and the judge made a decision, he or she will have signed a court order stating what that decision was.

If someone was appointed as the guardian, this will be an "Order Appointing Guardian of Minor" (Form GC-240).

If you have been appointed the child's guardian by the court, after the court hearing you have to file 2 more forms at the courthouse:

1. Letters of Guardianship (Form GC-250)

2. the signed Order Appointing Guardian of Minor (Form GC-240)

When you file these forms, the clerk will issue the final Letters of Guardianship.

These Letters prove that you are the guardian of a child. Get several certified copies of the Letters from the clerk. (There will be a fee for this.) The copies will help you do your job as a guardian, like signing the child up for school and getting medical care.

Learn where to file these forms and receive the final "Letters of Guardianship" in your county.

If things have changed in people's lives, a parent, child or guardian (or an Indian custodian, or the child's tribe if the child is of Native American ancestry) may ask the court to terminate the guardianship. To do this, the petitioner - the person asking for the change - has to fill out three forms and file them with a court clerk.

  • Petition for Termination of Guardianship (Form GC-255)
  • Order Terminating Guardianship (Form GC-260)
  • Notice of Hearing (Form GC-020)

Once the forms have been filed at the courthouse:

  • Copies of the Petition and Notice of Hearing need to be given to all of the people involved who have not signed the petition to terminate the guardianship. All of the second-degree relatives (the grandparents, for example) are entitled to notice. The service, once again, is to be done by someone 18 years or older who is not involved in the case.
  • Proof of Service forms also need to be filed with the court.

The court will schedule a hearing. During the hearing, the person asking to end the guardianship must be able to prove to the court that this is in the child's best interest. (See California Probate Code, Section 1601)

If you (the petitioner) want the child to live with you, the judge will want to see evidence that terminating the guardianship is in the child's best interest. Among the factors the court will consider will be whether:

  • you have a stable place to live;
  • you have a source of income;
  • you are "fit" or have been sufficiently rehabilitated;
  • you can provide a good home for your child;
  • the child is emotionally bonded into the guardian's household; and
  • you have some sort of emotional bond and established relationship with the child.

If the child is more than 12 years old, what he or she wants - and with whom he or she wishes to live - will be taken into account.