Additional Information about De Facto Parents Status
If a judge finds that you are a “de facto parent,” you have the right to:
- 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.
For more information on becoming a de facto parent, visit the Judicial Council website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/1207.htm. You may also want to attach support letters from others who know you and your child.
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. 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.”
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 http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv295.pdf.
- 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 http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv296.pdf.
- 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 http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv290.pdf.
- 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 http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv290info.pdf.
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.
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 ↑
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 http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv295.pdf and http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/jv296.pdf. ↑
Cal. Rules of Court § 5.502(10). ↑