Adoption is a familiar term that most people understand. However, guardianship is less known even though it is a popular alternative to adoption. In Illinois and other states, you can seek legal guardianship of a child who is under 18 years of age. Let’s take a closer look at how adoption and legal guardianship are similar and different.
If you become the guardian of a minor child, you have the legal authority to act as the child’s part in every area of their life. You are now the one responsible for providing for them financially and making important decisions about their life. An adoption is similar in that it will also provide you with the authority a biological parent would have.
It is important to note that in Illinois, adoptions and legal guardianships are only granted if the child’s birth parents give consent, are incapable of caring for and providing for the child, have passed away, or cannot be found.
While there are similarities between adoption and legal guardianship, there are also several significant differences. The first major difference relates to the rights of the child’s birth parents. In an adoption, the adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents and their birth parent’s rights are terminated. Termination of parent’s rights is usually done voluntarily or by the court. After an adoption has been finalized, a child’s biological parents cannot reclaim the rights to their child.
A guardianship, on the other hand, does not typically affect the rights of the child’s birth parents. In fact, the child’s birth parents may be responsible for making child support payments and help make some decisions related to the child’s life.
The duration of an adoption and legal guardianship is also different. Legal guardianships are usually temporary arrangements and may be revoked by the court or the birth parents at any time. In addition, minor guardianship ends when a child turns 18 years of age. They are considered temporary caregiving situations.
Adoptions are permanent and an adopted child may benefit from inheritances and other rights that a biological child may have. Adoptive parents also often remain in the child’s life forever rather than just until they turn 18.
Contact Our DuPage County Family Law Lawyers
If you are unsure whether legal guardianship or adoption makes sense for your particular situation, reach out to our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Office, LLC.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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