“Guardianship and Termination of Parental Rights”

California has a controversial law which allows guardians who have been appointed for two years or more to apply to the court for termination of parental rights and to adopt the minor child or children.

This law can be both good and bad. At its best, it provides stability for a child in that once two years have gone by, there is usually a need for a stable home that the child can count on. The law can be used to keep “yo-yo parents” who come in and out of their children’s lives from obtaining custody in the future if it is in the child’s best interest.

It can be bad in the sense that sometimes there is a fairly long-term arrangement with the guardianship where the parent is working towards a stable lifestyle before applying to terminate the guardianship. The two year statute period can sneak up on a parent who is working to rehabilitate themselves and most do not even know about it. It is very important to note that this starts to run even with voluntary guardianships, where a parent consents to the guardianship.

Both the guardian and the parent would be well-advised to figure out whether the parent is going to be able to resume parental duties well in advance of the two year mark to avoid ugly fights in the future. Although guardianships are, by their nature, meant to be temporary, the court will always look to preserve the best possible life for the child, even if that means terminating parental rights at times.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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