Parents have certain rights and responsibilities regarding the care, custody,
and protection of their children. Those rights and responsibilities are
the product of the parent-child relationship—a relationship that
the law recognizes as a source of a parent’s legal rights and duties.
Generally, a parent-child relationship exists between a child and their
natural parents. The parent-child relationship is necessary for a parent
to exercise physical and
legal custody over their child. However, a child’s natural parents are not the
only people who have rights and responsibilities with regard to a minor child.
Anyone who has been appointed as a child’s legal guardian has certain
legal rights and responsibilities in connection with the care and protection
of a child. For example, the custodial rights of guardians are superior
to most other persons. Furthermore, the custodial rights of a child’s
adoptive parents are just as important as a birthdparent’s rights.
However, if both guardians and adoptive parents have substantial rights
regarding the custody of a child, what is the difference between guardians
and adoptive parents.
What Are the Benefits of Guardianship?
Anyone can be appointed as the legal guardian of a child if a court deems
it necessary and convenient to do so.
Guardianship is necessary if no other person—including the child’s parents—is
willing and able to assume responsibility for the child’s welfare
Guardianship is not a basis for finding a parent-child relationship between
the guardian and the child whom they are responsible for protecting. In
fact, a nonparent appointed as guardian of a minor child can have superior
authority over a parent in certain circumstances. For instance, a parent
who is found to lack the capacity to adequately care for their child does
not have greater authority than a guardian.
Furthermore, a designated guardian can make legal and financial decisions
on behalf of adults with disabilities that render them incapable of handling
their own responsibilities. Conversely, a parent does not have the authority
to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of their adult-aged children.
The parent must be declared by a court to be the legal guardian of their
What Are the Benefits of Adoption?
Adoption gives someone who is not the child’s natural parent the
same rights and responsibilities of a natural parent. For all intents
and purposes, the
adoptive parent of a child has the same legal privileges and duties as a natural parent.
For example, an adoptive parent’s custodial rights are presumed
to be superior than that of all others. Also, an adoptive parent has important
inheritance rights regarding the estate of any deceased children. In contrast,
a child must explicitly provide for the inheritance of a legal guardian
in their will.
However, an adoptive parent cannot attain parental rights without first
terminating the parental rights of the child’s natural parent. The
birth parent of a child who is placed for adoption usually agrees to voluntarily
relinquish their parental rights. A person’s parental rights can
only be involuntarily terminated in extreme cases that usually involve
significant instances of child neglect and abuse.
Consult One of Our Skilled Attorneys at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich
If you have questions regarding the nature and extent of your rights and
responsibilities as a parent or guardian of a minor child, you should
speak with an experienced attorney from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford &
Hanich. We are committed to protecting you and your family’s best
interests in proceedings involving California family law.
For a consultation regarding your rights, responsibilities, and legal options,
call us at (951) 506-6654 or
contact us online today.