A special guardian has day to day care of a child and also acquires parental responsibility for the child (but not legal parenthood). A special guardian’s parental responsibility overrides the parental responsibility of anyone else who holds this (eg birth parents), although it does not extinguish the parental responsibility (or legal parenthood) of others for the child.
A special guardianship appointment can be useful, for example in circumstances where a birth mother is unable to care for her child and a family member (eg a grandparent) assumes care of the child, keeping the child within the wider family.
A special guardianship order is intended to give a secure legal relationship between the special guardian and the child, whilst maintaining the child’s legal connection with his/her legal parents.
An individual can apply for a special guardianship order if they hold a residence order for the child or have lived with the child for one year. Anyone else seeking to obtain a special guardianship appointment must first seek special leave of the court.
Court procedure for a special guardianship order
In determining an application for a special guardianship appointment in respect of a child, the court will commission an in-depth local authority report prepared by a social worker and consider all the relevant circumstances of the case. For more information about the court procedure for a special guardianship order click here.
The child’s welfare will be the paramount consideration of the court. For more information click here.
How we can help
- Advise and explain how a special guardianship order would impact upon your family and/or legal status for a child (whatever your personal circumstances)
- Advise and represent you in court in special guardianship proceedings
If you would like to discuss your personal situation in more detail or you would like further information about special guardianship please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44 (0)207 222 1244.