Figure out who you have to notify and how

After you file your papers, you have to give notice to the child's family members and certain other persons about the case and court date. You may also need to let the child and other adults in the child's life know about the case. To let them know, you must have someone deliver a copy of the court papers to them (called serving court papers).

If you also filed a Petition to be a Temporary Guardian, 

 you'll need to take more steps and meet earlier deadlines. Get instructions to serve a Petition to become a temporary guardian

Whom you need to notify

When you ask to be appointed guardian, you must notify:

  1. The child, if 12 or older
  2. The child's parents
  3. Anyone who has legal custody of the child
  4. Any guardian of the child's estate (if there is one)
  5. Anyone nominated to be the child's guardian
  6. The child's grandparents on both sides
  7. The child's siblings, including half-siblings
  8. Anyone who has the child in their care (if different than the person who has legal custody)

You may also have to notify your county's human services or social services department. And, if you're not related to the child, you'll have to notify the California Department of Social Services

For your case, it would be all the people you listed on your filed Guardianship Petition--Child Information Attachment (form GC-210(CA)) in Item 1, letters fg, or i, and everyone listed in Item 2. 

How to notify everyone

Serve or deliver notice to each person listed above

You need to have someone 18 years old or older, not you, hand-deliver or mail a copy of the PetitionNotice, and Comparison of Guardians With Other Nonparent Caregivers (form GC-207-INFO/JV-352-INFO) to them. The person who does this for you is your server. 

  • Make copies of the PetitionNotice, and form GC-207-INFO for anyone you need to serve. Make one extra copy of the Notice of Hearing. 
  • Give copies to your server.
  • At least 15 days before your hearing, your server must hand-deliver or mail the papers to everyone they need to serve.

Figure out if your server must hand-deliver or mail the court papers

For some people, the server must hand them the papers in person. This is called personal service. For others, the server can send the papers in the mail. Once your server has delivered the papers, they must fill out and sign a Proof of Service. File the Proof of Service with the court at least 5 days before the hearing.

  • Who must be served in Person
    • The child, if they are 12 years old or older
    • The child's parents
    • Anyone who has legal custody of the child
    • Any court-appointed guardian of the child's estate
    • Any person nominated as guardian for the child

    If you filed for someone else to be appointed guardian (not you), then your server must also hand the papers in person too.

  • Who can be served by mail
    • All of the child's grandparents
    • The child's siblings who are at least 12 years old (including half-siblings) 
    • The parents, guardians, or person who has custody of any sibling under 12 years old
    • Anyone taking care of the child (if this person does not have legal custody of the child)

    If you're not related to the child, your server will also have to mail the papers to the California Department of Social Services, Director of Social Services at 744 P Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Get step-by-step instructions for: 

How to serve in person or  How to serve by mail


You will need to prove to the judge that you really tried to find them or explain how you know they are not alive. Write down everything you did to try to find them, with details of who you talked to, the dates, and what the results were.  If you don't even know the name of a relative, say so but explain how you tried to find out.

  • Then, file a Request to Dispense with Notice that includes all the details of your efforts. There is no state form for this, but your local court may have something you can use.  Ask your court's Self-Help Center or the court's probate clerk if they can help you.
  • File your Request to Dispense With Notice with an Order Dispensing with Notice (form GC-021) for the judge.

If the judge approves your request, they will sign the Order Dispensing With Notice and you will be able to move ahead with your case without giving notice to the missing relatives.

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