Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Thank you for your question. I will start by saying that because the nuances of every case are different, you should not rely on this information as advice or apply it to a specific situation without a more thorough in-person consultation with counsel. But that said, there are basically two ways for a set of parents to relinquish custody of their children: either through adoption or through guardianship.
The primary difference between adoption and guardianship is the permanency and the rights of the parents. With adoption, parental rights are terminated and a new set of parents are designated as the legal parents of the children--it is permanent. A guardianship gives legal and custodial rights to a non-parent or non-parents, but the parents still retain the right to go back to the court and request termination of the guardianship if doing so is in the best interests of the children. A guardianship may be terminated at any time if it is in the best interests of the children.
So how to proceed is up to the adults involved. Generally, a guardianship is less offensive to the parents because it can be reversed if the circumstances call for it. Also, the parents may be allowed visitation rights during a guardianship (if it is for the best interests of the children).
Guardianships may be pursued through the probate division of the court in the county where the children reside. The process is generally started by contacting the court, speaking with the clerk of the probate division, and requesting a guardianship forms packet. The forms would be completed and the process would carry forward from there.
Guardianships may be contested or uncontested. If both parents agree that the guardianship is in the best interests of the children, it would be considered "uncontested", and the court is generally agreeable to awarding the guardianship without any complications.
Take a moment to read through my posting, and let me know if it makes sense once you are finished :-)
Also, if you could confirm that you can see this, that would be great :-)
Some people have compatibility problems with their web browser and they are unable respond in "chat" mode. I will wait about one more minute, and then change formats. You will still be able to communicate with me if I make the switch. Thanks.
I am switching over now. Hopefully, I will hear from you soon:-)