Guardianship and adoption are indeed similar in many ways. The more reason why many people keep on confusing the two. However, both adoption and guardianship in Orange County share the same goal: providing a stable environment for the growth and development of a child.
Both guardianship and adoption are legal arrangements for the custody and care of a child. Depending on your unique circumstances, an Orange County family law attorney can advise you on the best option that suits you and the child.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is the period for which each arrangement is effective. While adoption offers a child permanent residence with a new family, guardianship is for temporary purposes and is only possible with a close friend or family member.
What Is Adoption of a Child in Orange County?
This California process establishes a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent isn’t the child’s birth parent. This process can only occur through consent by the biological parent, relinquishment, or termination of parental rights.
An adoption terminates any previous legal parent-child relationship and establishes another with the adoptive parent. Once the adoption is final, the adoptive parent assumes all legal rights, responsibilities, and duties of the child and also gets a new birth certificate for the child.
What Is Guardianship of a Child in Orange County?
A guardianship is a temporary caregiving arrangement. Therefore, the guardian is appointed by the court to consent on behalf of the child and care for the child for the given duration. During this time, a parent’s rights to care, supervise and claim custody are temporarily suspended. However, the parents may still have a right to visitation and also pay child support to the guardian.
The courts will only consider guardianship if the child’s legal parent(s) cannot perform their duties. Only through clear and convincing evidence will the court make you a legal guardian to a child. The Newport Beach guardianship attorneys are ready to help you show why it’s in the child’s best interests to be the child’s legal guardian temporarily. A skilled attorney will also convince the court why you’re the most suitable person to raise the child.
How Do Adoption and Guardianship Differ in California?
In an adoption, one or both parents are substituted for another. So, the adopted child ends up being treated the same as a birth child to the adoptive parents. An adoption will ultimately lead to the permanent ending of the parents’ rights. In a guardianship, the parents continue to hold parental rights and can request the courts to award them reasonable contact with the kid.
The guardian, however, will assume most of the rights and responsibilities of the child. Since both of these processes are highly complex, you need to speak to an experienced Santa Ana family law attorney who can guide you through the steps.
A court cannot terminate an adoption. But it’s possible to terminate guardianship in Orange County if it’s no longer in the child’s best interest or if the parent can now be able to take care of the child.
Some stepparents who cannot terminate the biological parent’s rights sometimes opt for legal guardianship instead of stepparent adoption. So if a parent doesn’t agree to terminate their parental rights, guardianship offers a great alternative to adoption. With the help of a guardianship attorney in Santa Ana and Newport Beach, you can get legal guardianship for a child.
Since an adopted child has the rights like a biological child, s/he can inherit from the adoptive parents. And these adoptive families won’t be supervised by the court. However, guardianship can be supervised by the court.
When Is Guardianship Necessary?
In the modern world, it may not always be possible for one or both parents to accord the level of safety and stability a child needs. There are unique situations that can make guardianship the best option for a child’s wellbeing. Of course, this shouldn’t question the parent’s love for the child.
In California, guardianship may be considered in one or more of these:
- Physical, emotional, sexual abuse of a child
- Neglect of a minor
- Parents cannot be found
- The child has been living with a nonparent adult
- The parent(s) are in the military or are overseas
- The parent has a problem with substance and alcohol abuse
- Existence of a serious physical or mental illness on the parent
- Jail and prison time
- Enrolment into rehab for a while
How to Establish Legal Guardianship in California
A legal guardian can include family members like uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. But a close non-family member who’s willing can also become a child’s legal guardian. During your application, you will have to complete documents like letters of guardianship, guardianship petition, confidential guardian screening form, etc.
Whether you’re the one seeking guardianship or you’re the child’s parent wanting to nominate someone else to be your child’s legal guardian, you need the expert experience of board-certified guardianship attorneys serving in Santa Ana and Newport Beach to walk with you.
Compassionate and Family Minded Attorneys Giving High-Quality Legal Advice
When the circumstances of life change, we should also change. Because guardianship is a complex process, you need the help of a skilled attorney to guide you through the legal process. An attorney can also help you enforce guardianship in California.
At Sarieh Law Offices Alc., we are a collaborative law practice that works with several professionals to ensure we achieve the best results for you and the child. Our Orange County guardianship lawyers are ready to advise you for the best possible outcomes. Talk to us today on any family law matter related to guardianship in California.