Where a child lives with a third party who is not their biological parent it can often be necessary for the person with care to acquire some legal rights to be able to make decisions about the child(ren) in their care. This can apply to family members caring for grand children or nieces and nephews.

Special Guardians can acquire Parental Responsibility for a child which, for the most part, they can exercise to the exclusion of anyone else with PR, save from another Special Guardian.

Unless there is a specific provision to the contrary, a Special Guardian cannot cause the child to be known by another surname or remove the child from the UK for a period of more than 3 months.

It is not an absolute requirement that a Special Guardian is related to the child.

A Special Guardian must be over 18 and must not be the child’s parent. You are entitled to apply for a SGO if:

  • You are a child’s guardian;
  • You have a Child Arrangements Order for the child to live with you;
  • You are a relative with whom the child has lived for a period of at least one year prior to making the application for a SGO.

No specific provision is made for the duration of a SGO but it must come to an end when the child reaches 18 or upon the death of the child or Special Guardian.

On making a SGO the Local Authority is required to provide practical and financial support, to the Special Guardian.

We offer a free no obligation initial consultation. Taking legal advice at an early stage can often avoid pitfalls and can enable you resolve matters sooner.


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