There are many differences between guardianship and adoption in Texas. While both legal processes involve a person who is not a biological parent of a child taking over the care and welfare of that child, the circumstances and implementation of each arrangement can be vastly different.

Guardianship is a legal arrangement that grants an individual, called a legal guardian, the legal authority and responsibility to care for another individual, called a ward. Parents can name guardians of their children under many circumstances (e.g., death, illness) and sometimes a guardian can be appointed by the court without the consent of the parents. The legal guardian is responsible for the ward’s daily care, similar to a parent’s responsibility to a child. This arrangement is not intended to be permanent, as the biological parents retain rights to the children and they can still have contact with the child. Furthermore, the Court can end a guardianship if the biological parents become able to care for the child. Additionally, unlike with adoptive parents, guardians can be supervised by the Court.

Conversely, adoption is a process where an individual or couple assumes the legal position as a parent for a child that is not biologically their own. An adoptive parent also assumes the exact same responsibilities that a biological parent would normally have, but retains permanent physical and legal custody. An adoptive parent is considered equal to a biological parent in terms of both responsibility and authority by the state of Texas. This process is permanent and the biological parents permanently lose their parental rights. The legal relationship between the child and the adoptive parents is exactly the same as a birth family (e.g., an adopted child would inherit from his/her adoptive parents rather than his/her birth parents).

If you are considering guardianship or adoption, please contact Maples | Jones today, and let us help answer any questions you may have.