Additional Information about De Facto Parents Status

What rights do I have as a “de facto parent”?

If a judge finds that you are a “de facto parent,” you have the right to:[2621]

    Be present at dependency court hearings.
    Have a lawyer represent you, if you hire one. (In some cases, the court may appoint a lawyer at no cost to you, but only if the judge thinks it’s necessary.)
    Present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
    Participate in the child’s case (including the right to attend and participate in hearings, present evidence to the judge, ask questions, and be represented by a lawyer), and
    To help the judge decide what is best for the child.[2622]

For more information on becoming a de facto parent, visit the Judicial Council website at You may also want to attach support letters from others who know you and your child.

How does a judge decide if I am a “de facto parent”?

The judge will make a decision by looking at past court decisions and will consider the care you gave the child, how long you provided the care, and if you were able to meet the child’s needs.[2623] If you have harmed the child or put the child at risk, the judge will probably decide that you are not a “de facto parent.”[2624]

I took care of a child who is now a “dependent” in the juvenile dependency court, but I cannot be a “de facto parent”. Can I do anything else?

Even if you do not become a “de facto parent,” you can also fill out a “Caregiver Information Form” to give the judge more information about the child and help the judge make decisions about what will be best for him or her.

If you want to become a “de facto parent,” these forms can help you:

    De Facto Parent Request (JV-295)
    Use this form if you would like to become a de facto parent for a child in a juvenile dependency case.
    Form JV-295 is available at
    De Facto Parent Statement (JV-296)
    Use this form to explain your relationship with the child and why you should the child’s de facto parent.
    Form JV-296 is available at
    Caregiver Information Form (JV-290)
    Use this form to give the dependency court judge more information about the child. You can use this form even if you are not the child’s de facto relative.
    Form JV-290 is available at
    Instruction Sheet for Caregiver Information Form (JV-290-INFO) – This explains how to fill out the Caregiver Information Form. The Instruction Sheet is available at

Remember, a “de facto parent” is not a legal guardian and has fewer legal rights than a guardian. If you are unsure if being a “de facto parent” or guardian is best, please see PG. 748 for more information.

  1. 2621

    Learn more about these rights by reading Rule 5.534(e) of the California Rules of Court. NOTE: As a de facto parent, you do NOT have the right to attorney fees. But in some cases the judge may give you an attorney, and the court will pay the fees. Also, you do NOT have the right to a rehearing. But you have a right to an appeal

  2. 2622

    Cal. Rules of Court §§ 5.502(10), 5.534(e). Use these forms to request and explain why you want to participate as the child’s de facto parent: Form JV-295 (De Facto Parent Request) and Form JV-296 (De Facto Parent Statement), available online at and

  3. 2623

    Cal. Rules of Court § 5.502(10).

  4. 2624

    Judicial Council of Cal., “De Facto Parents,” (2015), (