How to end a guardianship

A guardianship either ends automatically or someone asks the judge to end it

A guardianship ends automatically when a child turns 18. It will also end if the child is adopted, marries, enters the military, or is declared an adult (emancipated) by court order. It will also end if the child dies.

A guardianship can also end when the guardian, the parents, or the child (if 12 or older) asks the judge to end the guardianship and the judge agrees. The judge considers:

  • If ending the guardianship is in the child's best interest
  • What the child wants (if they're 12 or older)

If a parent asks that the child live with them again, the judge will need proof that the parent has a stable place to live, has a source of income, and can provide a good home for the child. They'll also want proof the parent is "fit" or has been rehabilitated. This means that whatever situation the parent was in that made the guardianship necessary is no longer the case, and the parent is fit to take care of their child.

A guardian can resign by asking the judge to end the guardianship or let them resign and appoint someone else as guardian. 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 judge that it would be in the child's best interest for you to resign. If the judge agrees, they will appoint a guardian to replace you, called a successor guardian. If no one is available, the child will probably be made a dependent in juvenile court.

Get help from your court's Self-Help Center if you're in this situation and want to know more.

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