Simplifying A Complex Process

Comparing adoption vs. guardianship: What option is best for you?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2023 | Adoption

Helping to care for a child is a joy that some people couldn’t imagine not experiencing. If you want to care for a non-biological child in Michigan, establishing legal guardianship or adoption are two options to consider. It’s understandable if adopting a child or being their legal guardian sound similar. However, these two options have significant differences.

Duration of care

When comparing an adoption with legal guardianship, it’s beneficial to think about how long you can care for a child. If a parent needs you to care for their children temporarily, you’re this child’s legal guardian. A child can have a legal guardian until the age of 18. But this age-related requirement doesn’t exist for a child’s adopted parents. Under legal guardianship, a child’s legal parents have the right to end this agreement whenever they want. If they placed their child up for adoption, this child’s biological parents wouldn’t have this same right.

Inheritance and beneficiaries

It’s smart to plan ahead, which is why many people establish wills and trusts. If you adopt a child, it’s fairly easy to ensure this person inherits the assets left for them. However, a legal guardian must create provisions to leave assets behind to a non-biological person they cared for.

Court involvement

Sometimes, courts must monitor or supervise children visiting with guardians. During legal guardianship, courts must ensure this person or people provide adequate care for a child. When someone adopts a child, the court has no requirements to monitor a child’s overall safety.

There are many factors to consider when comparing legal guardianship and adoption, including money. Adopting a child absolves their parents’ rights to provide financial care for their children. However, biological parents often pay for certain child-related costs as a legal guardian provides childcare.