Is Guardianship the Same as Custody?

by | Nov 7, 2017

Short answer:  No.

In Maryland, there are two types of guardianship:

  1. Guardianship of the Person; and,
  2. Guardianship of the Property.

A guardian of the person is responsible for decision making about the minor child and making sure the child receives proper care.  This includes decisions about matters such as health, education, where a child lives, and other types of decisions made for one’s own child.  Proper care is providing food, shelter, clothing, and the child’s other needs, as if for one’s own child.

A guardian of the property is responsible for managing the minor’s assets (such as bank accounts) and income (such as child support and other public assistance benefits received).  A guardian of the property can use the minor’s assets and income for expenses such as clothing, support, care, education, as well as related to the minors protection and welfare.

Custody involves the responsibilities above, but also the rights of a parent.  For example, the right for the child to live with the custodian and have a designated schedule with the custodian.

A guardian is required to report to the court annually about the child’s welfare and finances.  A legal custodian (so, an adult with custody of a child) does not.

While the roles of a guardian and custodian may sound alike, they have subtle differences depending upon whether a child and parent have an ongoing relationship and the intended goal.

And, if a parent contests guardianship in Maryland, the request for guardianship will convert to a contested custody case.

Since 2002, Lindsay Parvis has represented clients in Maryland custody, divorce, and marital matters. She negotiates, litigates, and advocates for the best interests of her clients, whether in contested litigation, uncontested settlement, or premarital and other agreements. Her clients are not only spouses and parents, but also children whose interests she is appointed by the court to represent in contested custody litigation. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke and University of Baltimore School of Law. Lindsay strives to improve Maryland law in the General Assembly, volunteering her time to monitor, advocate, and educate about legislative developments in family law. You can follow her on Linked, and subscribe to her Newsletter for discussion, news, and developments in Maryland family law.