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What is special guardianship?

Special guardianship is where you take on the responsibility of caring for a child until they are 18 years of age. It gives you parental responsibility (PR) for the child over and above that of the parents. In essence you have 51% PR and the parents retain 49%, however, as the child resides with you, if the parents do not agree then you can overrule them.

A special guardianship order (SGO) is less severe than adoption as the child retains a link to the child but more substantial than a residence order as with a residence order you share parental responsibility for the child with the parents.

Who can apply?

Any person can apply for a SGO as long as they are not the parent to the child. i.e:

• Any 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 residence order with respect to the child, or who has the consent of all those in whose favour a residence order is in force
• 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
• Any person, including the child, who has the leave of the court to apply

What can I not do under the special guardianship order?

Whilst you have PR over and above that of the parents, you cannot:-

• Change the child’s name
• Remove them from the country for more than 3 months
• Agree for the child to be adopted

Why choose a special guardianship order?

A special guardianship order is usually most appropriate when the parents have significant problems of their own and are unlikely to agree with decisions about the upbringing of the child and that the child is unlikely to be returned to the care of the parents.

If a special guardianship order is made by the court then, in order for the parents to have the child returned, they will need to show that significant changes have taken place in their lives since the order was made before the court will even consider changing the placement of the child.

The local authority can offer assistance both practical and financial under a special guardianship order if they feel it is appropriate.

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What our clients say

  • Thank you so much for taking my case on and nailing it for us.  It‘s all over and we are so relieved.  Thank you for putting up with my worries, fears, anxiety and stressful moments.  I and my family are extremely grateful to you and we got the outcome we deserved.  Thanks James so much

    C.N. – Essex Wednesday 14 March 2012
  • I cannot thank you enough for the excellent care and courtesy I received in relation to my matter.  My grandchild is a very happy little girl thanks to your efforts of keeping her out of the care system.

    Friday 21 June 2013
  • Thank you very much for your help in assisting us with obtaining a Special Guardianship Order for our granddaughter.

    Friday 21 June 2013
  • “Thank you for your ongoing support during the proceedings with my granddaughter.  I am thrilled we have reached a positive outcome” - Yorkshire Client

    Tuesday 27 June 2017
  • “Thank you very much for reuniting our family” - West Yorkshire Client  

    Monday 26th June
  • “I never thought I would write a testimony saying how wonderful the solicitor at Ridley and Hall was but here I am doing just that. Initially I was sceptical and fearful whether or not my decision to choose Ridley and Hall was the correct one. I need not have feared as it was one of the best decisions I ever made. My solicitor at that time was James Cook of Ridley and Hall. He superseded any expectation I could have had of a solicitor. I felt valued and that my thoughts and opinions were well respected and listened too. Ridley and Hall were also were also very accommodating of my disabilities and I would describe them as disability friendly. James Cook responded to all my emails, phone calls and voicemail messages in a prompt and timely manner. If no immediate response could be provided, James Cook ensured a prompt time by which he could respond in full. James Cook went the extra mile (and many more!!!) and helped me to achieve the quickest and most appropriate response for my family. I will always be truly grateful to him for this. Words will never truly express my gratitude to him (James Cook) for the outstanding service and result he achieved for my family and I. Thank you James James Cook was not the exception to the rule at Ridley and Hall. I had dealings with various other solicitors at Ridley and Hall (namely Sarah Brown and Samantha Sanders) They too were efficient, respected my views and dealt with matters in hand in a prompt and timely manner and we're always helpful.” - C S – 2016  

    Friday 23rd June
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    Tuesday 20th June
  • "During my dealings with Ridley and Hall I had an equally high opinion of the secretaries of the solicitors (namely Abbey and Nicola) and the reception staff. All staff I dealt with at Ridley and Hall were genuinely lovely and all staff ensured every call or email was responded too in a prompt and timely manner. I am so glad I researched solicitors before deciding to choose Ridley and Hall and I would recommend them to anyone needing their services either now or in the future. I say with great sincerity - thank you to all the staff at Ridley and Hall yet, those 2 words could never be enough to truly show Ridley and Hall how grateful I will always be to all of staff. Keep being as great as I will always remember you to be and, Ridley and Hall will continue to change the lives of those that cross your paths for the better." - C S – 2016

    June 30th 2017