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2021 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.735. Legal guardianship

(a) Proceedings in juvenile court (§§ 360, 366.26)

The proceedings for the appointment of a legal guardian for a dependent child must be held in the juvenile court. The recommendation for appointment of a guardian must be included in the social study report prepared by the county welfare department or in the assessment prepared for the hearing under section 366.26. Neither a separate petition nor a separate hearing is required.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2021; previously amended effective July 1, 1997, July 1, 1999, January 1, 2006, and January 1, 2007.)

(b) Notice; hearing

Unless the court proceeds under section 360(a) at the dispositional hearing, notice of the hearing at which the court considers appointing a legal guardian must be given under section 294, and the hearing must be conducted under the procedures in section 366.26.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2021; previously amended effective July 1, 1999, and January 1, 2006.)

(c) Findings and orders

(1)  If the court finds that legal guardianship is the appropriate permanent plan, the court must appoint the guardian and order the clerk to issue letters of guardianship, (Letters of Guardianship (Juvenile) (form JV-330)) as soon as the guardian has signed the required affirmation. These letters are not subject to the confidentiality protections in section 827.

(2)  The court must issue orders regarding visitation of the child by a parent or former guardian, unless the court finds that visitation would be detrimental to the physical or emotional well-being of the child.

(3)  The court may issue orders regarding visitation of the child by a relative.

(4)  Except as provided in (5), on appointment of a legal guardian under section 360 or 366.26, the court may retain dependency jurisdiction or terminate dependency jurisdiction and retain jurisdiction over the child as a ward of the guardianship under section 366.4.

(5)  If the court appoints a relative or nonrelative extended family member as the child's legal guardian and the other requirements in section 366.3(a)(3) apply, the court must terminate dependency jurisdiction and retain jurisdiction over the child under section 366.4 unless the guardian objects or the court finds that exceptional circumstances require it to retain dependency jurisdiction.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2021; adopted as subd (d); previously amended effective July 1, 1999, and January 1, 2006; previously amended and relettered effective January 1, 2017.)

(d) Notification of appeal rights

The court must advise all parties of their appeal rights as provided in rule 5.590.

(Subd (d) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2017; adopted as subd (e); previously amended effective January 1, 2006, and January 1, 2007.)

Rule 5.735 amended effective January 1, 2021; adopted as rule 1464 effective January 1, 1991; renumbered as rule 1465 effective July 1, 1995; previously amended effective July 1, 1999, January 1, 2006, and January 1, 2017; previously amended and renumbered as rule 5.735 effective January 1, 2007.

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