We get a lot of questions about legal guardianship vs. legal custody and which is best for families. There are many similarities between the two, but there are also some important differences that can determine the right choice for any given family situation.
Both phrases refer to a legal connection that exists between an adult and a kid. And both are decided by a court of law. However, they are not interchangeable concepts. The primary distinction between guardianship and custody is based on parenthood and the level of responsibility and power that an adult has over the youngster in the issue.
A court awards someone other than a biological parent the right to care for a kid through legal guardianship. Custody (most commonly) refers to a parent caring for his or her own child. Guardianship does not necessarily provide custody or entail that a biological parent’s custody is permanently revoked.
Differences between Guardianship and Legal Custody
Guardianship and legal custody have very different origins, but they both have the same end result: they give someone else the ability to make major decisions on behalf of a child. While there is no inherent difference in terms of the kind of decisions that can be made, there are some differences in how each arrangement is established and maintained.
Custody is generally sought by parents over their children when they separate or divorce and there is a dispute over how to arrange parental responsibilities and parenting time with their children. A parent with legal custody has the authority to make major decisions about the child’s life, such as where he or she will live and what school he or she will attend. A parent who is awarded sole legal custody has the right to make all these decisions without consulting with the other parent. A parent who has joint legal custody must consult with the other parent on important decisions affecting their child’s life.
Guardianship is granted by a court when it determines that a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for him or her. When a person is granted guardianship over another person, they take on the responsibility of making sure that all of the needs of the person who has been granted guardianship are met. This can include anything from making sure that they have food, water, a roof over their head, and everything else in between. Guardianship is often given to parents of minor children when the children’s other parent passes away or is deemed unfit to care for the child.
FAQ about Custody and Guardianships
Who appoints a Guardian or Custodian?
As part of your Estate Plan, you can choose a guardian for your children. If you do this, a court will consider your nomination and appoint guardianship if you are unable to care for your kid. Most of the time, courts will support a parent’s choices, but there are times when a court will overturn a parent’s choice and appoint someone else to care for the kid.
What Is the Duration of a Guardianship?
Guardianship is frequently transitory if the biological parents are still living. However, if both parents have died, a court might confer lifelong guardianship to a ward. In this instance, guardianship normally lasts until the youngster reaches the age of 18.
Can You Act as an Adult's Guardian?
Guardianship of an adult (sometimes known as a “ward”) may be granted when the adult is unable to care for himself or herself due to incapacity or impairment.
Are There Any Requirements for Becoming a Guardian?
Guardians must meet a number of conditions. The majority are self-evident, such as:
- You must be 18 years old.
- Have a level head.
- You must not be a criminal.
- Live in the United States or be a legal resident of the United States
What’s the difference between Legal vs. Physical Custody?
When parents divorce, the court must determine which parent should have physical custody of their child. The court will also often determine which parent will have legal custody of the child. Legal and physical custody are two different rights related to a child, but they’re not always awarded to the same person.
When it comes to physical vs. legal custody, there are many factors that go into determining who gets what rights when it comes to raising a child.
The first thing that should be understood is the difference between legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions about their child’s life, such as education or religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to where a child lives and with whom they spend most of their time.
In cases in which one or both parents do not have legal or physical custody of their children, they may be given visitation rights or limited rights regarding medical care or education. Sometimes, this means being able to visit your children periodically or being able to take some part in important decisions in your children’s lives. In rare cases, these rights are denied altogether.