Family Law > Special Guardianship
TAKING ON FORMAL PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
Special Guardianship was designed specifically for family members taking on the permanent care of a child within a family.
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It gives the Special Guardian formal parental responsibility that overrides that of anyone else with parental responsibility i.e. the parents. This leaves the Special Guardian in charge and able to make decisions for the child. This could be in regards to practical things like choice of schools, or where the child lives, or what contact they should have with other members of the family.
The parents of the child still retain their parental responsibility and should ideally be informed and consulted where appropriate. However, the Special Guardian is able to get on and deal with matters, even if the parents do not respond or co-operate accordingly.
Special Guardianship Orders were introduced by the Adoption and Children Act 2002, to fill the gap between Child Arrangement Orders and adoption. Child Arrangement Orders determine who a child is to live with (or spend time with) and can grant parental responsibility, namely all the legal rights and duties of a parent.
The parental responsibility granted by a Child Arrangement Order is shared with those who already have it, equally. Adoption is different and ends a parents’ parental responsibility. This means that the child becomes legally the child of the adopters. In some cases adoption can skew family relationships.
For example, if an elder sibling is caring for their younger sibling as their parents cannot. If they adopted their sibling (s)he would become their legal child. This may be difficult in certain circumstances and not necessarily what the family wants. A Special Guardianship Order means that the elder sibling would acquire enhanced parental responsibility. It would not end the parents parental responsibility but the Special Guardianship Order would mean that the holder can exercise their enhanced parental responsibility and make the necessary decisions for the child.
Special Guardianship Orders are available to everyone e.g. family members, foster carers and others although sometimes leave of the Court is needed to make an application. This means that a request would need to be made to the Court to obtain their permission to continue.
Our team of dedicated Family Lawyers have years of experience dealing in all aspects of Family Law and can assist and advise you in securing a Special Guardianship Order. They can support you through the process from giving the required notice to the Local Authority to drafting the application.
Our expert Solicitors can advise you on the support plan offered by the Local Authority and represent you at Court hearings where the Judge will decide whether an order is in the best interests of the child.
We can also advise you on the allowances and support you should expect to receive by law and statutory regulations, as well as whether the support plan being offered by the Local Authority meets the requirements of the child. We are able to negotiate on your behalf with the Local Authority should this be appropriate.
In many cases if a child has been placed with you by the Local Authority, then they will pay for you to have legal advice on their assessment of you and the support plan.
If you would like to speak to one of our specialist Family Solicitors, please get in touch.
OUR EXPERT SOLICITORS CAN ADVISE YOU ON THE SUPPORT PLAN OFFERED BY THE LOCAL AUTHORITY
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YOUR SPECIAL GUARDIANSHIP | FAMILY LAW | TAYLOR ROSE MW EXPERTS
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