Ending a Guardianship

A guardianship ends when 1 of these things happens:

  • The child turns 18;
  • The child is adopted, marries, enters the military, or is declared an adult (emancipated) by court order;
  • The child dies before turning 18; or
  • The court ends the guardianship.

The first 3 events end the guardianship automatically. The last 1 requires a court order.

Any of these people can ask the court to end a guardianship:

  • The child, if 12 or older;
  • The parents of the child; or
  • The guardian.

A guardian can resign. But first, there must be a court hearing. And you must give notice of the hearing to all relatives who were notified of your appointment as guardian.

You must show the court that it would be in the child's best interest for you to resign. If the judge agrees, he or she will appoint a guardian to replace you. If no replacement is available, the child will probably be made a dependent in juvenile court.

Before ending a guardianship, the judge considers the following:

  • The child's best interests:  The person asking to end the guardianship must be able to prove to the court that ending the guardianship is in the child's best interest (see Probate Code 1601).
  • If the parent wants the child to live with him or her again, the judge will want proof that the parent:

    • Has a stable place to live;
    • Has a source of income;
    • Is "fit" or has been sufficiently rehabilitated, and
    • Can provide a good home for the child.

  • If the child is more than 12 years old, what he or she wants and where he or she wishes to live may be considered.

How to ask the court to end the guardianship of the person

  1. Fill out your forms

    Fill out:

    • Petition for Termination of Guardianship (Form GC-255);
    • Notice of Hearing -- Guardianship or Conservatorship (Form GC-020);
    • Order Terminating Guardianship (Form GC-260) (only fill out the caption which is the box at top); and
    • Any other forms your local court requires. Ask the court clerk or self-help center to make sure you have all the forms you need.

  2. Have your forms reviewed

    If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with guardianship cases, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.

  3. Make at least 3 copies of all your forms

    The original is for the court (sometimes, the court will also keep 1 of the copies). One copy will be for you. The others will be for the people who will have to get notice (see step 5). You may need to make more copies after you file your forms.

  4. File your forms with the court clerk

    Take your original plus copies to the clerk's office in your courthouse. They will keep the original and return the copies to you, stamped "Filed." You may have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver

  5. Give notice

    Give notice by mail to all the people that got notice when the case started (when the guardianship was filed).

    • You must give notice at least 15 days before the hearing.
    • For any relatives that agree to end the guardianship, you do not need to give notice. Just ask them to sign the Consent To Termination and Waiver of Service and Notice of Hearing on the back of the Petition (Form GC-255).

  6. Go to court on the date of your hearing

    • Fill out the Order Terminating Guardianship (Form GC-260)
    • If the court decides to end the guardianship, the judge will sign this form. Make sure you file this form after the judge signs it.

How to end a guardianship of the estate

You must file a final report and accounting with the court and ask to be discharged as guardian. If the child is now an adult, he or she can decide not to ask for an accounting. But you, as guardian, must still give a report to the court with a statement from the child (now adult) that he or she does not want an accounting.