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How does guardianship differ from adoption?

From time to time, parents in Florida are no longer able to care for their biological children. This can occur if you and/or the child’s other parent become incapacitated or die. It can also occur if a court issues a decision against you declaring you to be unfit. In situations like this, the care of your child becomes the responsibility of another adult, one chosen either by the court or by you, depending on the circumstances. This can take place via one of two legal processes: adoption or guardianship. 

According to FindLaw, adoption irreversibly alters the legal relationship between a child and his or her biological parents. It becomes the sole responsibility of the adoptive parent(s) to provide for the child’s needs, meaning that you as a biological parent do not have to pay child support. In addition, once the adoption takes place, you give up all your obligations in regard to your child, as well as your parental rights. It is still possible for an adopted child to inherit from his or her biological parents, but if you want this to happen, you must write a will naming the child as a beneficiary. Otherwise, he or she will not inherit automatically. 

Guardianship is similar to adoption in that the guardian(s) gain certain rights and obligations in regard to the child. However, a guardianship co-exists with the legal relationship between you and your biological child. It does not sever the latter relationship altogether as adoption does. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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