fbpx

Get in touch

Special Guardianship Order – The Guide

In this guide, we’ll explain what a special guardianship order is and how to apply for a special guardianship order. This will give you a general overview of the special guardianship order and how it functions. However, we would always recommend that anyone considering applying for a special guardianship order, seek legal advice for their individual circumstances from a specialist solicitor, such as Austin Kemp.

A special guardianship order is a type of court order made by the family court. Its purpose is to appoint someone (or several people) as a Special Guardian of a child. The child would live with this person (or people) on a long-term basis.

Special Guardian’s are usually (but not always) relatives of the child.

 

What is the difference between a special guardianship order and a residence order?

Unlike a residence order, a parent is unable to apply to discharge (remove) a special guardianship order, unless the court has given them permission to do so.

 

What is the difference between a special guardianship order and adoption?

A special guardianship order does not put an end to the legal relationship between the child in question and their birth parent/s. An adoption order, on the other hand, severs the legal ties between the child and their birth parents (the adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents).

special guardianship order

 

Does a Special Guardian have parental responsibility?

Yes, the Special Guardian for a child (named in the special guardianship order) has parental responsibility for the child.

A special guardianship order enables the Special Guardian to exercise their parental responsibility to the exclusion of anyone else with parental responsibility (except for another Special Guardian, if there is one).

 

Who has day-to-day responsibility for the child following a special guardianship order?

The Special Guardian/s can make everyday decisions about how the child is cared for and brought up.

 

Does a special guardianship order mean I can take a child abroad?

A Special Guardian can leave the UK with the child in question for a maximum of 3 months without needing to obtain the permission from other people with parental responsibility (or the court).

 

Who can apply for a special guardianship order?

Those wanting to apply for a special guardianship order must be over 18 years old. It is possible to apply for a special guardianship order as either an individual or with another person (jointly).

Parents of the child in question cannot apply for a special guardianship order.

You may be able to apply for a special guardianship order if either:

• the court has granted you permission to apply for a special guardianship order

• the child in question has resided with you for 3 out of the last 5 years

• you are the child’s Local Authority foster carer and the child has lived with you for 1 year just before you apply for the special guardianship order

• you are the child’s guardian or already have a residence order or a child arrangements order

• you are the child’s relative and they have been living with you for a minimum of a year

• you have the Local Authority’s permission to apply for a special guardianship order (and the child is in the Local Authority’s care)

 

How do I obtain a special guardianship order?

If you want to apply for a special guardianship order, you will have to inform the children’s services department of the relevant Local Authority.

Usually, you will be required to attend what is known as a mediation, information and assessment meeting (MIAM). The purpose of this is to determine whether your case could be resolved through mediation before an application for a special guardianship order is made.

While it is possible to apply for a special guardianship order without a solicitor, we would always recommend that anyone considering applying for a special guardianship order seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in this area of law, such as Austin Kemp.

 

Will I need to have an assessment before applying for a special guardianship order?

Yes, it is necessary to go through an assessment process before applying to the court for a special guardianship order.

The relevant Local Authority has to write a report for the family court which will detail whether or not they think the possible Special Guardian would be appropriate. The main purpose of the assessment process is to ensure that a special guardianship order would be in the child’s best interests.

 

Is there financial support available for Special Guardians?

Special Guardianship Allowance may be able to be applied for, but it is not available for everyone, as it is means tested.Your Local Authority should be able to give you advice about what support is available (financial and otherwise) and how to access it.

 

What are the other alternatives to a special guardianship order?

A special guardianship order may not be suitable for everyone. Other options include adoption, a child arrangements order or long-term fostering.

As we touched on above, the main difference between adoption and a special guardianship order is that the birth parents of the child will lose parental responsibility after adoption.

Conversely, a long-term foster carer of a child will not have parental responsibility (and therefore would not be able to make decisions regarding the upbringing and care of the child in the same way as those with parental responsibility can).

A child arrangements order can grant parental reason-ability to the person with whom the child will live (as detailed on the order).

As you can see, there are various alternatives to the special guardianship order available, which is why it is vital to get legal advice to make sure you are applying for the right order for you and the child.

 

Seeking legal advice before applying for a special guardianship order

Applying for a special guardianship order is not a process which should be undertaken lightly. It’s highly recommend that you seek legal advice to ensure that a special guardianship order would be right for both you and the child in question.

As every case is different, it’s always best to get legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

 

How can our expert divorce solicitors help you with advice on special guardianship orders?

Our expert family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues relating to special guardianship orders, including:

 

Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on special guardianship orders

For more information call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or email mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

13th July 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

43 + = 51

Make the first move

Find out how we can help you, call us on
0845 862 5001 or email us today.

Contact Us
Back to Top