A Guardianship is a court order placing you in "loco parentis" meaning, "in the position of parent." It differs from an adoption in that it can be terminated by you, the child or "any interested person" when it is "no longer necessary."
Guardianship / Adoption
An Adoption is a permanent "placement" and for all intents and purposes you are the parent of the child. It can be terminated only under extreme circumstances.
Most Guardianships are contested proceedings, and are most often sought when the parent is unable to care for the child. Drug and alcohol use and incarceration of the parent are common themes in this context. The advantage of a Guardianship is it allows the Guardian to apply for benefits for the child such as insurance coverage, school, and welfare, and further allows the Guardian to control access to the child to a certain extent. The disadvantage is that the natural parents are usually given the right to visit the child, and often file requests to terminate the guardianship which must be responded to. They are also rather costly, and include costs for both the filing and an investigation by a county official.
An adoption can take two forms, contested or non-contested. It is extremely difficult to win a contested adoption, as the legal standards are so high. Even a non-contested adoption is somewhat time consuming and expensive because every relative to the "second degree" must be given notice of the proceeding. In fact, quite often, this is the most difficult aspect of the adoption process. As with a guardianship, an adoption involves an investigation by county personnel and can be very time consuming and expensive. Another aspect of a non-contested adoption which is troublesome is the natural parent has a "cooling off" period within which they can veto their prior consent. This frequently occurs when a young mother who decides to give up a child at birth changes her mind shortly thereafter.
Our office has handled both adoptions and guardianships, and we can answer any question you might have about either. Give us a call for a free consultation.
The Law Offices of Michael J. Smith are located directly
across the street from the Ventura County Court House
789 S. Victoria Avenue
Ventura, CA 93003
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