Difference Between Guardianship and Custody

Guardianship vs Custody

Guardianship and Custody are terms usually used in legal actions about the rights, duties, obligations, and responsibilities of an adult with regard to the personal interest and care of a minor or a child. These two have their own limited amount of power in making decisions given to the caregiver.


Guardianship is the case wherein a person has an authority pertaining to another person legally. Generally, this term is used in a parent-child issue. Though any one else may have there own guardian if proven to be incapable of acting on behalf of their selves either mentally or physically. A person may be appointed as a guardian by the court to protect and give the best interest of a child.


Custody or child custody indicates who among the parents have the right or the authority to make decisions for the child’s interest especially when the parents of a child are having divorce. When they separate, a conflict arises as to where the child will stay, which school the child be enrolled and other decisions affecting the life of the child. This case is usually settled inside a court house.

Difference between Guardianship and Custody

Guardianship and child custody are not that very far from each other in terms of legal terminology. Guardianship can be applied not only to a parent-child case but also to another person. Meaning, even the adults and senescents are capable of having their own guardian as long as they are factually incapable of representing themselves in any legal manners. While in custody or legal child custody, it’s for a parent-child or adult-minor kind of case. Since minors can’t make right decisions on their own, custody over them is usually given to the mother or father in case of parent separation.

In every country, state, or city, the rules and procedures between guardianship and custody may vary. It may differ in one way or the other as explained above. When planning to have one, it would be best to contact any lawyer or government social welfare office.

In brief:

• Guardianship can be given to anyone who is incapable mentally or physically on behalf of themselves. Custody is more on parent-child or adult-minor case

• Guardianship is limited in its range of decision-making while custody has the superior authority in decision-making especially on complicated matters.