What is the Difference Between Adoption and Guardianship in New Jersey?

What is the Difference Between Adoption and Guardianship in New Jersey?


Taking a child under your wing is one of the most rewarding things you can do, especially if that child has lost their parents or has been suffering in an unsafe environment. In New Jersey, there are a number of different ways in which you can welcome a child into your family. One is adoption, and the other is guardianship. So what is the difference between these two legal concepts? Which one should you choose? Are there certain benefits for either route?

All of these questions and many others can be answered by a qualified, experienced family law attorney in New Jersey. If you are approaching the process of guardianship or adoption, it makes sense to consult with one of these legal experts. Not only can a lawyer help you choose the best option, but they can also guide you through the process in an efficient manner.

The Two Options Available to You

  • Kinship Legal Guardianship: Popular among grandparents and relatives, this allows you to get children out of foster care and into a stable home. As a kinship legal guardian, you take custody of the child and assume all parental responsibilities.
  • Adoption: A process in which you become the permanent, legal parent of a child. You are not just assuming the legal responsibilities of a parent, you are becoming the parent.

Which is the Right Choice for Me?

Ultimately, both adoption and legal guardianship kinship will help the child live in a more stable environment. They are both preferable to foster care, which is only ever supposed to be a temporary measure as the state searches for a new guardian.

That being said, you might prefer to pursue either legal guardianship or adoption based on your unique priorities and circumstances. Legal guardianship ends when the child turns 18 in New Jersey. This means that after the child becomes an adult, a guardian will no longer have any legal connection to the child. All of a guardian’s responsibilities end when the child turns 18. In addition, choosing to become a kinship legal guardian does not terminate parental rights. This means that the biological parent will still have the opportunity to visit their children.

On the other hand, adoption is essentially irreversible. Once you become an adoptive parent, you commit to being part of a child’s life for the rest of your days. The only exception is if an adoptive parent transfers custody to another person, something they are legally allowed to do (guardians do not have this ability). In addition, your adopted child will become eligible to inherit your estate at the time of your passing. This is an important consideration. In some cases, it might be better for the child to remain a beneficiary of the biological parent, while in other situations it may be in their best interests to become the beneficiary of their adoptive parent.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Family Law Attorney Today

If you have been searching New Jersey for a family law attorney who can assist you with this matter, look no further than Giro, LLP, Attorneys at Law. We have a wealth of experience with family law in New Jersey, and we are extremely familiar with the factors that surround both adoption and guardianship. Reach out today, and we can develop an action plan together.


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