Legal Guardianship v. Adoption - Tessmer Law Firm
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Legal Guardianship v. Adoption

Adoption and legal guardianship are not the same.


There is a big difference between the two. Legal guardianship gives one the duty to act as a temporary parent to a child. Adoption permanently terminates the rights of a child’s biological parent. It is important to understand the differences if you are considering guardianship or adoption for your family.


Becoming a child’s legal guardian gives you the rights of a parent. But, it does not end the biological parents’ rights. The legal guardian has all the responsibilities of a parent. Providing for the child financially, providing basic necessities and ensuring the child is safe, healthy and receiving a proper education.


There are different forms of guardianship.


Most still allow the biological parents to be a part of the child’s life. Usually, guardianship is not permanent. Guardianship comes about for a variety of reasons and in many ways. For example, a child’s biological parents may be struggling with drugs and/or alcohol. They may sign legal guardianship over to a family member while they get help. Once the child’s parents are back on track, the child returns to their care.


If the child is not returned to the parents, legal guardianship ends when the child turns 18.


Adoption is quite different. With adoption, the biological parents lose all rights they had to the child. The tie between the child and his/her parents is legally severed. The parents no longer have any say in the child’s life. They are under no obligation to provide support. They receive no visitation or access to the child unless the adoptive parents agree. Adoption is permanent and cannot be revoked.


Once an adoption is final, there is no way to take it back.


How do you decide which is the best option for you and the child? That depends on your goals. If you want to provide a stable, loving home, but leave open the chance that the child’s parents could come back into the picture, a legal guardianship may be your best choice. If you want the child to become a permanent part of your family, you may want to consider adoption.


In either case, having an experienced Family Law attorney on your side is a big help. If you have questions or want to discuss your adoption or guardianship options, call us today at 210-368-9708 to schedule a consultation.