Special Guardianship Orders
For a great number of different reasons, people who are not the biological parents of the child(ren) can find themselves in circumstances where they are caring for a child(ren) on a full time basis.
Such situations may be very stressful or uncertain, and knowing what to do for the best is not always easy.
Special Guardianship Orders are made when a child is placed with someone other than the biological parent, on a permanent basis. Such an Order provides the child with security and a sense of belonging, and the Special Guardian obtains a higher level of Parental Responsibility than the parents. This means that the Special Guardian can have control of the key decisions affecting the child, as well as having responsibility over the day to day issues that the child faces.
In this way the Special Guardian’s views and any decisions made by them in respect of the child for the most part will take priority over what the parents may wish to happen for the child.
Special Guardians will retain Parental Responsibility for any child that the Order has granted until that child is 18 years of age.
Quite often, grandparents, or extended family, fall into this category for any number of reasons.
Our team have successfully represented many applicants in securing a Special Guardianship Order. We can advise you on all of the steps required from starting the application to securing a final Order. Do contact our Children Department if you require further advice.
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What is a Special Guardianship Order?
A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) is a court order that gives someone the legal authority to be responsible for a child’s care and upbringing. It is similar to adoption and gives the special guardian parental responsibility for the child and it also gives the child a legal link to his/her birth family.
Who can apply for a Special Guardianship Order?
Anyone who has an ongoing relationship with the child and who is willing and able to provide a stable and loving home for the child can apply for a Special Guardianship Order. This could include grandparents, step-parents, or other family members.
What are the factors considered when making a Special Guardianship Order?
The court will consider the child’s best interests when making a Special Guardianship Order. This includes the child’s welfare, safety, and emotional and physical needs, as well as the child’s relationship with the proposed special guardian and any other relevant factors.
How long does a Special Guardianship Order last?
A Special Guardianship Order lasts until the child is 18 years old.
Can a Special Guardianship Order be changed or revoked?
Yes, a Special Guardianship Order can be changed or revoked if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in the child’s needs or the special guardian’s circumstances.
What are the rights and responsibilities of a Special Guardian?
A special guardian has the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as where they live and go to school, and has a responsibility to provide for the child’s needs, including emotionally, physically and financially. The special guardian also has to keep the child safe and make sure they’re getting an appropriate education.
Can birth parents still have contact with the child after a Special Guardianship Order is made?
Yes, contact between the child and the birth parents can be included as part of the Special Guardianship Order, if it is in the child’s best interests. The court will consider the child’s relationship with the birth parents and the child’s emotional needs.
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