Becoming the guardian of a child


The guardian of a child is the adult who is legally responsible to take care of the child. Usually, the guardian is the parent. Many children have two guardians and some have more.

Sometimes a parent runs into difficulty caring for their child alone. Another adult may become a guardian of the child to support or replace the parent. To become a guardian, that person must apply to the court for a private guardianship order.

If you become a guardian of a child, it means that you made a permanent commitment to raise the child and have agreed to assume all the responsibilities of a parent. It also legitimizes your relationship to the child – giving you the rights of a parent.

To apply for guardianship, either you or the child must live in Alberta and you must have cared for the child for more than six months. The judge may drop these requirements if it is in the child’s best interests to do so.

The judge will also consider whether:

  • you are able and willing to assume the responsibility of a guardian;
  • the child has consented (if the child is 12 or older); and
  • the child will benefit from your appointment as private guardian.

Applying for a Guardianship Order Under the Family Law Act

If you are interested in becoming the private guardian of a child for whom you have been caring, you must apply using a series of forms that are required by the court. All the necessary forms are provided in the Guardianship Order Kit, which is downloadable from the family law website.

If you require assistance, guidance, or clarification about how to complete these forms or would prefer a paper copy of this kit, please contact your nearest courthouse.

Caution! Before you complete any court forms, we strongly suggest that you call your nearest Family Law Information Centre to make sure you have selected the right forms.

  • Calgary – Family Justice Services 403‑297‑6981
  • Edmonton 780‑415‑0404
  • Grande Prairie 780‑833‑4234
  • Lethbridge 403‑388‑3102
  • Red Deer 403‑755‑1468
  • Medicine Hat 403‑529‑8716
  • Or Via the RITE line 310‑0000

The court requires that you file all forms in their original form. You should complete the forms in blue ink or, if they are completed online, ensure your signature is in blue ink. Black ink makes it difficult to determine whether a form is an original or a copy.

If you would like more information about guardianship of a child, please contact your nearest Child and Family Services office, or Delegated First Nation Agency.

Modified: 2015-09-30
PID: 15360