Why Choose A Guardianship?
The biggest difference between adoption and guardianship is that a guardianship does not legally terminate the biological parents’ rights to their child. A guardian is someone who has custody of a child and serves for all practical purposes as a parent for the child for a certain period of time, sometimes through the child’s developmental years.
If you are a guardian of a child, you will be allowed to access services for the child that you may not have access to without the designation of guardian. Relatives may request that you take their child into your care as a guardian for a temporary period of time. If you are thinking about becoming a guardian or even a foster parent, it is important that you understand the differences and the guardianship process, have clear expectations about what it entails. Sometimes a guardianship can be a step towards adoption or the guardianship could simply stay in place until the child reaches the age of majority.
Why Choose Guardianship?
People choose guardianship for a number of reasons. If a biological parent needs to enter rehabilitation for an addiction or if the biological parent is dealing with incarceration or another serious situation and cannot care for the child during that time, they may nominate and consent to a relative or friend with a stable home to take on the responsibilities of raising their child, either temporarily or “permanently” (until the child is 18).
Guardianship differs from adoption in that the biological parent can go back to the court and request that the guardianship end and that the child return to the biological parent’s custody. The hope is that this is agreed to by all parties.
In some cases, a guardianship can evolve into an adoption because the biological parents’ situation is not changing and there are additional factors requiring more security and permanence for the child through adoption. A recent California Supreme Court case that Attorney Ted R. Youmans was involved in now makes it easier for guardians to adopt a child after they have raised the child for more than two (2) years. An experienced adoption attorney at our law office can help you understand your legal options relating to any questions you have about guardianships and protecting children.