Legal Guardianship and Adoption Are Different
Did you know that about 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year? Legal guardianship and adoption are very different, one being temporary and the other being permanent. Many people confuse these two arrangements since they do have some similarities. As a New Jersey adoption attorney, we would like to explain the difference.
This is a temporary care living arrangement for the child. It may be that a parent chooses to have a legal guardian for their child because they cannot provide the necessities at the time. However, they may be able to do so in the future. Parents retain all legal rights to that child.
Legal guardianship can take place until children are 18 years old. The parents may terminate the agreement at any time before that and reclaim custody. Parents can pass along an inheritance to that child, while a guardian must make a special provision when they write their will.
The parents’ legal rights have not been terminated. They may still play a role in the lives of their children. They may also be responsible for providing child support. In some cases, this temporary arrangement may be with a close friend or family member who knows the parents and the child.
Parents choose to adopt a child, knowing that the legal rights of the biological parents are terminated as the child is placed into the adoptive home. In this case, an adult becomes the permanent, legal parent of a child. It is not a temporary arrangement such as legal guardianship; it is permanent. Biological parents cannot reclaim the rights to their children. Adoption also terminates the financial responsibilities of the biological parents as well as visitation rights. However, visits may be possible with an open adoption agreement, and, in some cases, the child may maintain contact with their birth family.
The age of the child may have a bearing on the process of adoption. For example, an infant adoption may be different than the adoption of an older child. In an infant adoption, the prospective birth mother and the adoptive parents may all be involved, necessitating a different time frame.
How Legal Guardianship and Adoption Are Similar
Although the legal ramifications are different, both forms provide a stable relationship for a child. Although the child is not biologically theirs, they will have the responsibility for emotional support and the basic necessities. Responsible for a proper education, adoptive parents and guardians also have rights to consent to medical treatment for the child.
Both forms of parenting, legal guardianship, and adoption, are legal arrangements to ensure that the basic needs of a child are met. Also included in this are love and support as well as their care and feeding and more.
Which Situation May Be Right for You As the Parent?
The biological parent of the child will ultimately make the decision. They might ask themselves if they can provide the proper support in the near future as well as the following questions:
- Do you want future communication with your child?
- Can you provide financial support while they are with a legal guardian?
- Are you ready to have your child with someone they know is not their parent?
Reaching out to a New Jersey adoption attorney may help clarify which is the best situation. Although the decision is always up to the parent, each situation is unique, and the roles of legal guardianship and adoption are different. There may be subtle differences in each of the adoption and legal guardianship processes.
We are your local New Jersey adoption attorney. Donald C. Cofsky’s practice is here for your adoption needs. With experience in both adoption and assisted reproduction, we are here to serve you. Whether you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, you’ll find Cofsy & Zeidman offices in both states. You can contact us online or (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at (856) 845-2555 in Woodbury, New Jersey, or in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at (215) 563-2150.