Guardianship issues in California can become complicated, but are very important. In most cases, a guardianship becomes necessary for a child who has become orphaned or whose parent(s) are unable to provide proper care. Disabled or incapacitated adults, often an older parent suffering from an illness or dementia, may need a guardian to handle their affairs. Area residents with guardianship or adoption questions should talk to a family law attorney in Menifee.
The Difference Between Guardianship and Adoption
When children are involved, there can be confusion as to whether it would be best to pursue a guardianship or adoption.
When a guardian is appointed by the court:
• The parents still retain parental rights and can ask to have reasonable contact with their child.
• If the parents are once again able to take care of the child, the guardianship can be ended by the court.
• The court supervises guardians.
When a child is adopted:
• The parents’ parental rights are severed permanently.
• The legal relationship between the child and adoptive parents is permanent and identical to that of birth parents and children.
• He or she will inherit from adoptive parents in the same way as birth children.
• The court does not supervise adoptive parents.
Why Would a Child Need a Guardian?
A guardian typically manages the finances of a child and is responsible for taking care of the child’s needs, including food and shelter, medical care and education.
A child could need a guardian if the child’s parents are:
• Ill or deceased
• Unavailable for an extended period, such as for a prolonged military tour or drug or alcohol rehab
• Incarcerated in jail or prison
• Unable to provide medical care mandated by the court
• Unable to provide a safe environment
Who Can Become a Guardian?
Anyone that is approved by the court can become a guardian. The court investigates and considers what will be in the best interests of the child. Grandparents, older siblings or other relatives may assume guardianship responsibilities when the parents are unable to care for their children. In some cases, a stranger will assume a guardianship although this is not the ideal circumstance.
For questions concerning guardianship, adoption, and other family law issues, contact the law office of Michelle Penna. Attorney Penna has been a family law attorney in Menifee for more than 27 years. To schedule a free consultation, website.
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