The family law team at Lupton Fawcett understands that the well-being of a child is paramount and has helped provide expert advice on applying for Special Guardian Orders to many clients in the past.
If you require assistance with a Special Guardian Order, or would like to know more about what it means, contact our Yorkshire-based solicitors today. You can either call us on 0333 323 5292, or fill in the enquiry form on this page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
What is a Special Guardianship Order?
A Special Guardianship Order is an Order appointing one or more individuals to be a child’s “Special Guardian.” That person or persons will be granted Parental Responsibility for the child and is entitled to exercise that Parental Responsibility to the exclusion of any other person who has Parental Responsibility for the child but is not a Special Guardian.
Who can apply for a Special Guardianship Order?
Any person can apply to be a Special Guardian for a child as long as they are 18 years old or over and not a parent of the child concerned.
Who can be a Special Guardian?
Any person over the age of 18 can apply to be a Special Guardian, however, they must fulfil certain criteria laid out in the Children Act 1989 to be deemed fit to be responsible for a child. This includes:
- having the wishes and feelings of the children in mind
- adhering to their physical, emotional and educational needs
- meeting characteristics which the court sees as relevant
- being found incapable of causing harm to children
- showing evidence of how the child’s parents are incapable of providing for their needs
What are the responsibilities of a Special Guardian?
If a Special Guardianship Order is made it means you will:
- have responsibility of the child’s welfare, including day-to-day decisions
- need to provide a foundation for a lifelong, permanent relationship
- maintain a link with the child’s birth parents
- be able to pass on your surname to the child (if the court gives permission)
How long does it take to get an Order?
The relevant Local Authority must be given 3 months written notice of an individual’s intention to apply to the Court for a Special Guardianship Order. Once that period of time has lapsed, the individual can apply to the Court for either “leave to apply” (permission) for the Order or for those individuals that do not require leave, the substantive Order. The application will be served on the child’s parents and any other person who may hold Parental Responsibility for the child. The Court will require the Local Authority to undertake a Special Guardianship Report which is an in depth assessment carried out by a Social Worker, which will recommend whether or not a Special Guardianship Order should be made.
What is the effect of a Special Guardianship Order?
- The Special Guardian (SG) exercises Parental Responsibility to the exclusion of any other holder of PR except for situations where the law requires the consent of all holders of PR or on adoption;
- The Special Guardian makes the day to day decisions on upbringing;
- The birth parents retain very limited rights;
Contact us for help
If you would like to apply for a Special Guardianship Order, or you are already a Special Guardian and need legal advice, our lawyers are on hand to help. With offices in Leeds, York and Sheffield, we can offer our services to those in and around Yorkshire. Contact us today using the details on the enquiry form to discuss your case.