Child Social Care

Special Guardianship Order

What is a Special Guardianship Order?

A Special Guardianship Order is an Order that the Court can make to place a child for longer periods of time, usually for their minority with someone who is not their parent.

Will the Special Guardian have parental responsibility?

If a Special Guardianship Order is granted the Special Guardian will have parental responsibility for the child. It is important to remember that those already with parental responsibility will retain it despite the Special Guardianship Order. However, if a decision cannot be agreed upon between the parent and the Special Guardian the guardian has the ability to overrule the parent.

Will I still have access to my child?

Once a Special Guardianship Order is granted you will still be able to maintain access with your child. The details of this are typically agreed at the Court hearing.

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What is the difference between a Special Guardianship Order and Adoption?

An Order is less severe than adoption, as the parent can continue a relationship with their child. However, a Special Guardianship Order is more severe than a Child Arrangements Order as the Guardian will have Parental Responsibility over others that hold it.

Who can apply for a Special Guardianship Order?

Anyone who is not a parent to the child can apply. This can include;

  • A guardian of the child
  • A Local Authority foster carer with whom the child has lived for at least one year immediately preceding the application
  • Anyone who holds a live with Child Arrangements Order with respect to the child
  • Anyone with whom the child has lived for three out of the last five years
  • Where the child is in the care of a Local Authority, any person who has the consent of the Local Authority
  • Anyone who has the consent of all those with parental responsibility for the child
  • A relative with whom the child has resided with for over a year

When is a Special Guardianship Order most appropriate?

A Special Guardianship Order is most likely to be granted when the parents have separated or divorced and have differences of opinion of how the child should be raised. Or, when the child is unlikely to be returned back into the parent’s care.

Can an Order be discharged?

A Special Guardianship Order can be discharged; however, the parents need to demonstrate to the Court that there has been a significant change in their circumstances from when the Order was issued, ensuring the child’s safety and welfare. These Orders are made with the view of the Special Guardian caring for the child for their minority.

What do I need to do next?

If you are worried that this will happen to you and your child or it is happening to you then you must contact us immediately. We can act on your behalf, understanding your situation and working together with the Courts and the Local Authority to ensure the best outcome for you and your child.

For further information and advice contact the Ringrose Law Children Department in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford and Newark.

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