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What is the difference between adoption and guardianship? Legal advice on family law

One of the key areas of our work is legal support of the adoption and guardianship procedures both for the citizens of Ukraine and for foreign nationals.

Many our Clients would like to know the difference between adoption and guardianship. They inquire about the situations, where this or that type of responsibility for the child should be registered.

Today we will elaborate on all legal nuances related to guardianship and adoption in Ukraine and will make a head of the difference between these two procedures.

Related article: How Can A Citizen Of Ukraine Adopt A Child?

What is adoption and guardianship?

Guardianship means taking a child to your family without acquiring parental rights. That is, guardians assume the obligation to take care of the child, represent his/her interests, but in general their actions are limited and strictly controlled. For example, the guardian will have to submit a report on the use of the child’s property and the money spent on its maintenance to the guardianship authority.

The child will only be in the custody until the age of 18. At 18 years old, the child and the guardian will be alienated, and become independent from each other.

Adoption is also a form of legal arrangements for the care of a child that does not have biological parents. However, in this case, a kid joins the family as a full-blooded child, and the adoptive parents have full parental responsibility for the child.

Despite the fact that the adoption procedure, in general, is more complex and takes more time, it gives more opportunities to those who intend not just to take care of the child for a while, but to create a family.

How much money do adoptive parents and guardians receive?

Only citizens of Ukraine are entitled to receive financial assistance in case of adoption or guardianship. And in case of a married couple, one of the spouses shall be the Ukrainian.

The payments are made after receiving a positive court decision on adoption or the decision of the city administration on the establishment of guardianship of the child.

In case of adoption, the payment is made to one of the parents, and the parents have the right to spend the money at their discretion, in the interests of children. However, they are not accountable for the money they receive and spend.

If the adoptive parents adopt two or more children, such payments are made for each child. It is necessary to apply for the state financial assistance not later than 12 months after the court decision comes into force.

Payments are made by the labour and social protection service of Ukraine.

Such payment amounts to the child birth grant established by law. In 2020, the adoption assistance amounts to UAH 41,280. It is paid out in several stages:

  1. The first one-time payment (it amounts to UAH 10,320 in 2020) is paid at the time of adoption;
  2. The remaining amount of the adoption assistance is divided into equal parts and paid within 36 months.

In case of guardianship, the payment is paid to the guardian, but the money shall be the child’s property. There are several ways to dispose this money:

  • To open a savings account and save up money until the child reaches the age of majority;
  • To use the money for the needs of the child, but at the same time to provide a detailed report with evidence (checks) of the spent amounts on the quarterly basis.

The financial assistance amounts to two minimum subsistence levels for a child of the appropriate age. However, when maintenance, pension or scholarship is paid to a child, such financial assistance amounts to the difference between the two subsistence minimums for a child of the corresponding age and the amount of the pension, maintenance or scholarship granted.

In any case, in order to obtain financial assistance for a child, you will need to actively communication with the state authorities of Ukraine. Our lawyers can help you to properly handle all formalities related to adoption or guardianship and reduce any troubles for you.

Related article: Where To Go Through All Necessary Formalities For Adoption Of A Child From Ukraine And What Is Required For This?

Adoption and guardianship procedure in Ukraine

The list of documents to be submitted to the Service of Children Affairs for these two procedures is quite similar. In case of adoption and establishment of guardianship, the following documents shall be submitted to the Service:

  • A passport (copy);
  • A certificate or declaration of income for the last six months of the year;
  • A marriage certificate (copy);
  • A health certificate;
  • A consent of the other spouse or persons living with the applicant (certified by a notary);
  • A certificate of criminal records;
  • Proof of home ownership or the right to use accommodation.

However, each package requires different additional documents:

  • In case of adoption, you need to additionally submit a psychological evaluation report;
  • In case of guardianship, you need to additionally submit a reference from place of employment.
In both cases, once the documents have been checked, the housing conditions of the applicant are inspected. The inspection shall be carried out within 10 days and a decision to satisfy the request is made based on its results.

Following the verification of the documents, the Service of Children Affairs issues the following documents:

  • To the adopter - a letter of referral that allows a candidate to meet the child, and later a conclusion on the appropriateness of the adoption;
  • To the guardian - the decision on establishment of guardianship.

In case of adoption, after meeting the child, the applicants must apply for an adoption court order. The final document of this procedure will be the positive decision of the court.

When it comes to guardianship, the permit document will be the decision of the Service of Children Affairs on the establishment of guardianship of the child.

The guardianship procedure involves less stages than the adoption process. So, as you can see, the guardianship procedure is easier at the beginning, but involves constant reporting and continuous communication with the guardianship authority throughout the entire guardianship period.

Adoption is a multistage and quite difficult process, but its key advantage is that the adopted child becomes a full member of the family, who, for example, has the right to inheritance. In addition, you can break off the established relationship with the child only through the court proceedings.

How can a lawyer help in the adoption or guardianship process in Ukraine?

Both procedures have its pitfalls and procedure-related nuances that must be taken into account, if you want to have a successful outcome. As both cases directly affect the child’s fate, the state addresses all these issues in a very responsible manner, and therefore requires a strict adherence to the letter of the law.

However, if the application for adoption or guardianship is, for example, submitted by a foreigner, the situation becomes even more confusing, because there is a number of additional requirements to the documents.

An experienced lawyer can make the procedure easier for you and lend his/her shoulder at each necessary stage.

Our lawyers will:

  • Help you to develop a complete package of necessary documents;
  • Tell you how to make a proper application;
  • Provide assistance with the documents legalization and translation;
  • Submit documents to the relevant authorities as your representatives;
  • Provide you with the legal support of the entire process.

If you need assistance with adoption and guardianship procedures and do not want to go through them over and over again, don’t hesitate to call us.

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