Special Guardianship Orders

A Special Guardianship Order is a legal order granted by the court appointing one or more people to be Special Guardian’s for a child. The orders are made when a child is unable to live with their birth parents, usually because it would not be safe for the child to do so. It provides the child with a legally secure placement throughout their childhood.

Special Guardianship Orders provide the Special Guardian with enhanced parental responsibility for the child, meaning that they can make important decisions in relation to the child’s upbringing. The making of a Special Guardianship order does not remove parental responsibility from the child’s parents, but it does allow the Special Guardian to over-ride the parents’ views where there is disagreement.

When the court makes a Special Guardianship Order, it will also consider the arrangements for contact between the child and their birth parents.

Before the court can make a Special Guardianship Order there needs to have been an assessment by the Local Authority as to whether the making of the order is in the best interests of the child. The Local Authority must also send to the court a Support Plan, indicating the practical and financial support the Special Guardian will be entitled to in the long term, and what is expected of the Local Authority and the Special Guardians.

Special Guardianship Orders are most commonly made in favour of extended families of the child, or foster carers who have looked after the child for a significant period of time. Often the child has already been subject to care proceedings to consider whether the child could be looked after by their parents.

Here at Lockings, our family solicitors have helped many families and foster carers hoping to obtain Special Guardianship Orders. This can include helping with the court application, drafting court documents and representation in court. Our family solicitors will also scrutinise the support being offered by the Local Authority to ensure that the plans meet the specific needs of your family.

If you are considering applying for a Special Guardianship order, if you are a carer who is being asked to become a Special Guardian, we offer a free initial chat. We will explain the costs and timescales involved up front so you always know what to expect. We will also discuss the availability of legal aid which may be available in your unique situation. For confidential and friendly advice, contact our family law solicitors in Hull and Beverley for a free initial chat on 01482 300 200 today or send an e-mail enquiry to [email address] and we will contact you for a discussion as soon as possible.

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