Adoption vs. Guardianship

There are major differences in the rights and responsibilities between being a guardian and fully adopting a child.

While one gives an individual the responsibility to act as a temporary parent of a child, the otherpermanently relinquishes the rights and responsibilities of a child’s biological parents.

It is important to understand these differences if you are considering either one of these legal processes because the smallest mistake can completely change a child’s life.

In a Guardianship:

  • The biological parent is still afforded parental rights and are allowed contact with the child
  • If the parent becomes capable of caring for the child again, a guardianship can be terminated
  • The court can require supervision of guardians

A legal guardian assumes all responsibilities that a parent would have, including providing financial and emotional support for the child and consent to medical treatment if necessary – in addition to all the basic necessities required to survive on a day-to-day basis.

In an Adoption:

  • The biological parent’s rights permanently end
  • The relationship between the adoptive parent(s) and child is permanent
  • The law regards the adoptive child as it would a biological child of the family
  • The adoptive child is eligible to inherit from the adoptive parent(s)
  • There is no court supervision over adoptive families

With the adoption process, both legal custody and legal responsibilities are transferred from the biological parents to the adoptive parents. The biological parents of the child lose all of their rights and responsibilities.

The most important difference between guardianship and adoption is that guardianship can be temporary and is often reevaluated periodically to ensure the child’s best interests are being taken care of, while adoption is a permanent legal transference of custody.

If you have questions regarding either one of these processes, contact the family law offices ofHolstrom, Block & Parke. We are experienced and knowledgeable in child custody cases and can guide you through the adoption or guardianship process while ensuring that your legal rights are protected. We are committed to fighting for you.

Call us today at one of our offices located in San Bernardino, Riverside, or Orange County or, contact us online.

Professional Legal Help

Our attorneys are waiting to help you

Our Locations

*We do not receive postal correspondence at this address. Please send any desired material to our Corona office for review and distribution.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.