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How To Terminate (End) A Guardianship

Ending a Guardianship

A guardianship is terminated (ends) when:

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

The first 3 events automatically terminate the guardianship.

For the last event, the court can schedule a hearing to terminate the guardianship or someone can file a request (petition) to terminate the guardianship, which would be followed by a court hearing, and a court order.

Here are examples of people who can ask the court to terminate a guardianship:

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

If you are a guardian and want to resign and no longer continue as the guardian, but a guardianship is still needed, you will have to ask the court for permission to resign as guardian and to appoint someone else. There will be a court hearing and all the relatives that you notified at the beginning of the case have to be notified again.

  • You must show the court 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. If you know someone who wants to be appointed as guardian in your place, you may want to work together so they can file the paperwork necessary to be appointed as guardian at the same time.
  • If no replacement is available, a referral to child protective services is made and the child will probably be made a dependent in juvenile court.

Before terminating a guardianship, the judge considers:

  • The child's best interests: The person asking to terminate the guardianship must be able to prove to the court that terminating the guardianship is in the child's best interest.
  • If the parent wants the child to live with him or her again, the judge will want proof that the parent:
    • Has a safe place to live,
    • Is able to be a parent 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.

Click for our main guardianship page if you want to know general information about guardianships.


How to ask the court to end the guardianship


If you file your forms electronically (through e-filing), visit our e-filing page since instructions for steps #2 and #3 will be different.

  • Fill out your forms
    Fill out:
    • Petition for Termination of Guardianship (GC-255)
    • Notice of Hearing (GC-020)
  • Make at least 3 copies of all your forms
    The original is for the court. One copy will be for you. The others will be for the people who will have to get notice (see step 4). You may need to make more copies after you file your forms.
  • File your forms with the court clerk Take the original plus the copies to the Clerk's Office. The clerk will return the copies to you, stamped "Filed." You will get a hearing date on the Notice of Hearing (GC-020). That is your court date to ask the judge to end the guardianship.
  • 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 (GC-255).
  • 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.


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