Guardianship vs. Adoption

You might think that designating a guardian for your children is the same as asking someone to adopt them. Legally, the two concepts are very different.

While one gives an individual the responsibility to act as a temporary parent of a child, the other permanently relinquishes the rights and responsibilities of a child’s biological parents. It is important to understand the differences if considering either one of these legal processes.

A guardianship does establish a legal relationship between the guardian and the child; however, there are different types of guardianship, some of which are very limited and can exist without altering the rights of the parents.

Even if the guardian is now assuming the day-to-day parental responsibilities, the parents are still financially responsible for their child. Guardianships are appropriate in cases where a child needs temporary supervision until a more permanent placement can be established. A guardian can be a friend, family member or the child can be put in a foster home or orphanage.

Guardianships are also common when the parents pass away unexpectedly and leave behind minor children. If the parents have a will, the guardians are usually pre-chosen and designated in the will.

An adoption, on the other hand, terminates the relationship between the biological parents and the child. They are no longer required to provide financial support and no longer have any rights or responsibilities regarding the child.

Both guardianship and adoption require a formal designation by the court to establish the legal relationship. However, a guardianship can be terminated or renewed at a later date, while an adoption is considered to be a permanent relationship.

To discuss your situation with an experienced attorney, call the Orange County family law offices of Amy M. Montes. We can help make your arguments for a guardianship or adoption as persuasive as possible. Call us today to schedule an appointment with the family law offices of Amy M. Montes.