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Should I adopt my step-child or be added as a joint guardian?

There are key elements to decide on when contemplating whether to adopt your step-child pursuant to the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, or be added as a guardian under the Family Law Act.

Although both procedures would provide legal rights to your step-child, they come with distinct rights and responsibilities, some of which may be more important to you than others. Some of the key differences include: 

- that there is an automatic last name change option for adoption but not for guardianship

- how child support is dealt with in the event of a separation

- who must be notified of the proceedings

- the legal process and legal expense of each process

- the child's right to your estate under the Wills and Succession Act in the event of your death

-that in adoption, a new birth certificate is issued unlike guardianship

- considerations of the emotional, familial bond of adoption versus guardianship

- that adoption cannot be terminated whereas guardianship can be

There is much to consider when deciding on this next step for your family, and which is the right fit for your family.

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