Guardianships and Adoptions

Guardianship is when a court orders someone other than the child’s biological parent(s)to:

  • Have custody of the child; or

  • Manage the child's property (called "estate"); or Both 

   These cases are brought by the person seeking to be appointed guardian or by someone else in the family asking the court to appoint a guardian.  If custody of the minor was awarded to a non-parent through the juvenile dependency court, this section does NOT apply.

Adoption is a legal process which permanently gives parental rights to adoptive parents. It is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of a child, from that child's biological or legal parent(s), and in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the biological parent(s).

A guardianship is not the same as an adoption. Here are some differences:

In a Guardianship:

   Parents still have parental rights. They can ask for reasonable contact with the child. The court can end a guardianship if the parents become able to take care of the child. Guardians can be supervised by the court.

In an Adoption:

   The parents' rights are permanently ended. The legal relationship with the adoptive parents is permanent and is exactly the same as a birth family. An adopted child inherits from his or her adoptive parents, just as a birth child would.  Adoptive families are not supervised by the court.

Click here to complete a Guardianship / Adoption Intake

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