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Bundren Law Firm P.C. Bundren Law Firm P.C.

What Makes Guardianship & Adoption Different?

Serving Families Throughout Tulsa
What Makes Guardianship & Adoption Different?

Guardianship and adoption both involve someone other than a child’s birth parents fulfilling the role of a parent in the child’s life. More importantly, both of these arrangements are intended to ensure the child is safe, healthy, and cared for.

Despite these stark similarities, guardianship and adoption are not often spoken about in the same breath or considered to be related to one another. So, how do they really differ?

The Birth Parent’s Legal Rights

The key difference between guardianship and adoption comes down to what happens to the birth parent’s legal rights when either arrangement goes into effect.

A guardianship may establish a legal relationship between a child and someone who is not a birth parent, but the birth parents’ rights or own legal relationship to their child are not terminated. Guardianships may be temporary or prolong for an indefinite period – some people use them when they are experiencing extreme financial hardship and can no longer support their children, or are dealing with a severe illness, addiction recovery, incarceration, or other major issues with that would impede their ability to provide their child with the care they need.

By contrast, an adoption permanently terminates the birth parent’s legal rights over a child. Unlike a guardianship, this does not permit the birth parent an opportunity in the future to resume their role as a parent or guardian in a child’s life.

Child Support Obligations

If a birth parent has child support obligations, these can remain in effect if a legal guardianship for their child is created. Adoption ends child support requirements because it terminates the birth parent’s legal rights over a child, but this is not the case for all guardianships – even if they were not sought by the birth parents.

The Child’s Inheritance

Inheritance is also affected by a child’s legal relationship to the adult providing their care. When a child is placed in the care of a legal guardian, the guardian must explicitly account for the child in their estate plan if they wish to pass on an inheritance. This contrasts with adoption, where the child’s legal relationship to their adoptive parent is no different than if they were biologically linked. If the adoptive parent were to die without a will or estate plan (which is never advisable), the state’s intestacy laws would regard the adopted child no differently than any other.

Do You Need Legal Support?

Whether you are a birth parent, legal guardian, an adoptive parent, or someone seeking adoption, we at Bundren Law Firm, P.C. can represent you in whatever legal matters you are trying to pursue. We can represent parties in both adoption and guardianship cases, providing our clients with the legal support they need to achieve their goals or the best possible outcome.

Learn more about during a consultation with our attorney. Schedule yours today by calling (918) 992-3300 or contacting us online.