323.212.5599 Call today for a free consultation

Guardianship Versus Adoption

An Overview

Legal guardianship is a court process by which a person other than a parent is given custody of a child, or is granted authority over a child's property. If the court appoints you the legal guardian of a child, you will assume some important duties in caring for and supervising the child.

In contrast, adoption severs the existing parent-child relationship between the child and the natural or biological parents. The adopting parent(s) then assume the parent-child relationship.

Understanding the Differences

Although a legal guardianship suspends a parents' rights and obligations, it is only temporary. The parent is likely to regain custody of the child. A legal guardianship will not have any impact on the child's relationship with other relatives.

On the other hand, when an adoption occurs, the adopting parents assume all of the legal rights and responsibilities of parents. Adoption does not preserve a child's inheritance rights from the natural or biological parents.

Some other important distinctions between guardianship and adoption include:

  • Adoptive parents have a duty to provide financial support for the minor child(ren)
  • When a child is adopted, his or her natural or birth parents don't have the duty to support the minor child(ren)
  • Once an adoption occurs, the natural or birth parents have no further rights or responsibilities concerning the child, even visitation (unless there is a post-adoption contract)

When a legal guardian is appointed, however, none of the above are true. The guardian has no financial support duties, but birth parents still have support obligations and parental rights, unless these rights are terminated in additional steps of the guardianship proceeding.

Find Affordable, Compassionate Help

Whether you need a Los Angeles guardianship attorney or an adoption lawyer in L.A., at Castellanos & Associates, APLC we can fully explain the differences between these two processes, and even discuss alternatives to a legal guardianship appointment. With more than 40 years of collective family law experience, our dedicated attorneys are qualified to help you. See how our Spanish-speaking advocate can help you through any child custody matter.

Get your free case evaluation from a Los Angeles family law attorney today!