Special Guardianship Order
- Are remaining in the care of wider family.
- Require minimal disruption from parents in relation to decisions about their care and welfare.
- May require a level of support from the local authority (LA) longer term.
What does a special guardianship order do?
Who can apply to be special guardian?
- Any guardian of the child
- Any individual in whose favour a residence order (now part of a Child Arrangements Order) is in force in respect of the child
- Any person with whom the child has resided for a period of at least three years (this need not be continuous but must not have begun more than five years before, or ended more than three months before the application is made)
- Where a residence order (now part of the CAO) is in force, any person who has the consent of every person in whose favour the order was made
- Where the child is in the care of the LA, any person who has the consent of that authority
- Any person who has the consent of each of those persons (if any) who have PR
- A LA foster parent with whom the child has lived for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the application
- A relative with whom the child has lived for at least one year immediately preceding the application
Factors of the Court when making a SGO
- The wishes and feelings of the child, considered in the light of his age and understanding.
- The child’s physical, emotional and educational needs.
- The likely effect on the child of any change in his circumstances.
- The child’s age, sex, background and any characteristics of his, which the court considers relevant.
- Any harm the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
- How capable each parent (and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant) is of meeting the child’s needs.
- The range of powers available to the court.
- Whether a CAO in relation to contact should also be made in respect of the child.
- If a contact order or CAO made with respect to the child is not discharged, any enforcement order relating to that contact order or CAO should be revoked.
- Whether any section 8 order in force with respect to the child should be varied or discharged.
- If a contact activity direction has been made regarding contact with the child and is in force, that contact activity direction should be discharged.
Additional Court Powers when making a SGO
- Give leave for the child to be known by a new surname or make a specific issue order, which can include changing a child’s name.
- Grant leave for a child to be removed from the UK, either generally or for a specific purpose
- Attach conditions to an SGO. These are subject to the same limitations as conditions attached to a residence order/CAO. The conditions can apply to:
- the person in whose favour the order is made;
- a parent of the child, including the unmarried father who has not acquired PR for his child;
- a person who is not a parent but who has PR for the child, for example, a guardian or a person with a residence order; or
- a person with whom the child is living.
We understand that you will want to have an initial conversation with one of our family experts to see how we can help you. This is why we offer a free consultation to assess your needs and to see how we can assist.
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- Divorce/Civil Partnership Dissolution;
- Finances associated with your marriage through for example, voluntary negotiations, mediation, collaborative law or court proceedings;
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- Schedule 1 Children Act applications;
- Pre and post nuptial agreements/ Pre and post civil partnership agreements;
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- Cohabitation contracts/Living together agreements