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Differences Between Guardianship and Adoption in Illinois

Posted on in Adoption

adoption, guardianship, Lombard family law attorneyWhile most people are familiar with the concept of adoption, many may realize that there are alternatives to adoption that can grant an individual certain authority over a child’s life. In Illinois, as well as other jurisdictions, it is possible to seek legal guardianship of a minor child. Guardianship, in many ways, is quite similar to adoption but is quite different in others. If you are looking to provide a loving home to a child in need, understanding the differences between the two can help you make the best choice for your specific situation.

Many Similarities

Guardianship of child grants you the legal authority to act as the child’s parent in virtually all areas of the child’s life. You become responsible for tending to the child’s day-to-day needs, as well as making medical, educational, and other decisions regarding the child. An adoption would provide you with all of the same authority and responsibilities regarding the child.  Both adoptions and guardianships in Illinois will only be granted if the child’s birth parents consent to the arrangement, have been found to be unsuited for providing such care for the child themselves, have passed away, or cannot be located.

Substantial Differences

There are two primary differences between an adoption and a guardianship of a minor child. The first pertains to the rights of the child’s birth parents. In a legal adoption, the adoptive parent(s) become the child’s legal parent, with all of the inherent rights and responsibilities provided by law. This means that the birth parents’ rights must be permanently terminated, either voluntarily or by a finding of the court. A guardianship, conversely, does not usually affect the parental rights of the child’s birth parents. The birth parents may even be required to make child support payments during your guardianship, as their responsibilities regarding the child continue to be recognized.

The second major difference is the duration of the arrangement. A guardianship is generally intended to be temporary, and may be revoked by the birth parents or the court at any time with reasonable justification. Guardianship of a minor also ends when the child turns 18, with no lasting impact on the child through adulthood. An adoption, on the other hand, is permanent, not only as it relates to the authority of the adoptive parent, but in terms of familial relationships as well. An adopted child assumes the same rights as a natural child, including those of inheritance and other considerations.

Skilled Legal Assistance

For answers to your more specific questions regarding guardianship and adoption in Illinois, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. The compassionate team at A. Traub & Associates is ready to help you understand your options and to choose the best course of action for your unique circumstances. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=12100000&SeqEnd=14300000

https://www.illinois.gov/dcfs/lovinghomes/adoption/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098


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