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Does guardianship of minors being given to grandparents terminate all educational rights of the parent?

Merced, CA |

My wife lost custody of her kids over a year ago and is in the process of getting them back. She has asked the grandparents for copies of school records, but they have not been forthcoming with them. The school refuses to release any information. The court order granting guardianship does not address educational rights for either party. Should my wife have access to the school records for her children, or does it need to be specifically addressed in a court order?

Attorney Answers 3


It should be addressed in the court order, this is not the same as having joint legal custody. The grandparents now have sole custody, care and control of the child. Parental access needs to be addressed through the court. Some of the information can also be accessed at the annual review of the guardianship where the guardians must update the court as to the child's progress including progress in school.

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Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the term "parent" is defined. Under the facts outlined in your scenario, the grandparents are considered the parents for purposes of education matters, including access to education records. Your wife would not be considered the "parent" for purposes of accessing the children's educational records. Until something changes, such as her parental rights are reinstated by the court, then she will not be able to access the educational records.

Disclaimer: Please note that this response does not create an attorney-client relationship. The words set forth above are not legal advice and should not be construed as such. The person(s) posting the question should not rely on this response as legal advice. Each case is unique, fact-specific, and should be reviewed in light of all state and federal laws. The person(s) posting the question should seek an in-depth evaluation of the case by a an attorney licensed to practice law in his/her state who can review all relevant facts and documents.

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Guardianship does not terminate a parent's parental rights. It is technically a temporary arrangement until a parent is able and willing to care for the child again. HOWEVER, while a guardianship order is in effect, the parent is no longer the decision maker or controlling adult in the child's life. The court has ordered that the Guardian has those roles. Therefore, until a court order states that the guardianship is terminated (either because of a Petition to Terminate Guardianship or voluntary termination) it is only the Guardian that has access to the educational and other "parental" records.

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