What Is the Difference Between Adoption and Legal Guardianship?

Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC Assist Clients with Custody Matters.

Adoption and legal guardianship are two options that prospective parents and guardians can pursue to provide a safe and loving home for a child. It is important to understand both roles. If you are considering adoption or legal guardianship, it is advised that you contact a skilled child custody lawyer to help you navigate the process.

What Are the Similarities Between Adoption and Guardianship?

Both adoption and legal guardianship accomplish the goal of placing a child in a safe and loving environment with individuals who are not the child’s biological parent(s). In both cases, the adult, or adults, with whom the child has been placed have a responsibility to meet the child’s basic needs including food, medical care, education, clothing, and shelter while providing the love, stability, and support that the child needs to feel safe and secure.

What Are the Main Differences Between Adoption and Legal Guardianship?

Adoption and guardianship both involve complex legal processes. There are important differences that prospective parents should be aware of, such as:

  • Parental rights: When a couple or individual adopts a child, the adoptive parents are awarded legal parental rights, and the biological parents’ legal rights are terminated. In certain circumstances, a step-parent may also formally adopt his or her step-child in this same fashion. Once the adoption is finalized, the biological parents may not reclaim rights to their child; the adoptive parents have the same legal rights and obligations as if the child was born to them. In a legal guardianship, the biological parents can seek termination of the guardianship to reclaim custody of their child or children.
  • Child support: Once a child has been adopted, biological parents are no longer obligated to provide ongoing financial support for the child or children. However, arrears may not be waived. In a legal guardianship, the biological parents are required to continue supporting the child financially.
  • Inheritance: The adoption process ensures that the child has the same rights to inheritance from the adoptive parents, as if the child was born to them. If a child’s legal guardians wish to pass along an inheritance, they must make a special provision for this in their Will.
  • Complexity of the process: The legal process of adoption is more complex than the process of obtaining legal guardianship. Whether you pursue an adoption or legal guardianship, a dedicated and compassionate child custody lawyer can guide you through every step of the process, address your questions and concerns, and pursue the outcome that is best for the child and your family.

Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC Assist Clients with Custody Matters

If you are interested in adoption or legal guardianship, do not hesitate to contact the Somerville child custody lawyers at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC as soon as possible. We will help you determine the best legal course of action and assist you with every step of the adoption or guardianship process. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 908-800-7676 or contact us online.

Located in Somerville, New Jersey, our attorneys serve clients throughout Central New Jersey, including those in Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Warren County, Morris County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Middlesex County.