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California Code, Probate Code - PROB § 1513

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(a) Unless waived by the court for good cause, a court investigator, probation officer, or domestic relations investigator shall make an investigation and file with the court a report and recommendation concerning each proposed guardianship of the person or guardianship of the estate. Investigations where the proposed guardian is a relative shall be made by a court investigator. Investigations where the proposed guardian is a nonrelative shall be made by the county agency designated to investigate potential dependency. The report of the investigation for a guardianship of the person shall include, but need not be limited to, a discussion of all of the following:

(1) A social history of the proposed guardian.

(2) A social history of the proposed ward, including, to the extent feasible, an assessment of any identified developmental, emotional, psychological, or educational needs of the proposed ward and the capability of the proposed guardian to meet those needs.

(3) The relationship of the proposed ward to the proposed guardian, including the duration and character of the relationship, the circumstances under which the proposed guardian took physical custody of the proposed ward, and a statement of the proposed ward's wishes concerning the proposed guardianship, unless the proposed ward's developmental, physical, or emotional condition prevents the proposed ward from forming or stating their wishes concerning the proposed guardianship.

(4) The duration of the guardianship anticipated by the parents and the proposed guardian and the plans of each parent and the proposed guardian to provide a stable and permanent home for the child. The court may waive this requirement when no parent is available.

(b) If the proposed ward is or may be described by Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the court may refer the matter, in writing, to the local child welfare agency to initiate an investigation pursuant to Section 329 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.The referral shall include a summary of the reasons for the referral and may include a copy of the petition under Section 1510, the investigator's report filed pursuant to subdivision (a), and any other material information.

(1) Pursuant to the timeline in Section 329 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the child welfare agency shall report the findings and conclusions of its investigation, any decision made as a result, and the reasons for the decision to the probate court.

(2) The probate court shall not hear and determine the petition to appoint a guardian of the minor until the child welfare agency has completed its investigation and has submitted the report to the probate court.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (2), pending completion of the child welfare investigation, the probate court may take any reasonable steps it deems appropriate to protect the child's safety, including, but not limited to, appointing a temporary guardian or issuing a temporary restraining order.

(4) If the child welfare agency has not, within three weeks of the referral, notified the probate court that it has commenced juvenile dependency proceedings, the probate court or counsel appointed pursuant to Section 1470 to represent the minor may apply to the juvenile court, pursuant to Section 331 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, for an order directing the agency to commence juvenile dependency proceedings.

(5) If the juvenile court commences dependency proceedings, the guardianship proceedings shall be stayed in accordance with Section 304 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. This section does not affect the applicability of Section 16504 or 16506 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. If the juvenile court does not commence dependency proceedings, the probate court shall retain jurisdiction to hear and determine the guardianship petition.

(c) Before ruling on the petition for guardianship, the court shall read and consider all reports submitted pursuant to this section and shall affirm that it has done so in the minutes or on the record.A person who reports to the court pursuant to this section may be called and examined by any party to the proceeding.

(d) All reports authorized by this section are confidential and shall only be made available to persons who have been served in the proceedings or their attorneys. The clerk of the court shall make provisions to limit access to the reports exclusively to persons entitled to receipt. The reports shall be made available to all parties entitled to receipt no less than three court days before the hearing on the guardianship petition.

(e) For the purpose of writing either report authorized by this section, the person making the investigation and report shall have access to the proposed ward's school records, probation records, and public and private social services records, and to an oral or written summary of the proposed ward's medical records and psychological records prepared by any physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist who made or who is maintaining those records. The physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist shall be available to clarify information regarding these records pursuant to the investigator's responsibility to gather and provide information for the court.

(f) This section does not apply to guardianships resulting from a permanency plan for a dependent child pursuant to Section 366.26 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(g) For purposes of this section, a “relative” means a person who is a spouse, parent, stepparent, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, first cousin, or any person denoted by the prefix “grand” or “great,” or the spouse of any of these persons, even after the marriage has been terminated by death or dissolution.

(h) In an Indian child custody proceeding, any person making an investigation and report shall consult with the Indian child's tribe and include in the report information provided by the tribe.

(i) It is the intent of the Legislature that the guardianship laws in this code and the juvenile court laws in the Welfare and Institutions Code operate together as a cohesive statutory structure that ensures all cases referred by the probate court for a child welfare investigation are subject to review by the juvenile court without limiting the probate court's ability to take immediate action to protect the child while the child welfare investigation and juvenile court review are pending. The purpose of this statutory structure is to ensure the protection of every child's health, safety, and welfare and to provide due process to every child, parent, and family.

(j) On or before January 1, 2023, the Judicial Council shall adopt, amend, or revise any rules or forms necessary to implement this section.

Cite this article: - California Code, Probate Code - PROB § 1513 - last updated January 01, 2019 |

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