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COVID-19 UPDATE: Goodwins is committed to delivering high-quality service while keeping our staff and clients safe. Currently, courts remain open and our team will continue to operate as normal, but all consultations and meetings will now be made via video call. Click here to view our full response to COVID-19.

FAQ: What is Special Guardianship?

FAQ: What is Special Guardianship?

Special Guardianship is an order that appoints one or more individuals to be a child or young person’s ‘special guardian’. The appointed special guardian will gain day-to-day control and parental responsibility for the child. A special guardian must be over 18 years old and must not be the birth parents of the child.

A Special Guardianship is intended for children who are unable to live with their birth parents and would benefit from a legally secure placement. The order places the child with their special guardian to live on a long-term basis. 

A parent cannot apply to discharge the order without affirmative permission from the court. It does not, however, end the legal relationship between the child and his/her birth parents.

It is possible to apply for a Special Guardianship Order if:

  • you are a Local Authority foster carer with whom the child has lived for a period of one year directly before the application; or
  • the child has lived with you for three of the last five years (and the child has not ceased living with you more than 3 months before the application); or
  • you are the guardian of the child; or
  • the child is in Local Authority care and the Local Authority consents to you making an application; or
  • you have a Child Arrangements Order or a Residence Order in respect of the child; or
  • you are a relative of the child and the child has resided with you for at least one year immediately pre-dating an application; or
  • you have permission from the court to make the application

Needing some professional advice on child custody? You can get in touch with Goodwins Family Law Solicitors today to book an initial fixed fee consultation for a confidential discussion and we’ll be happy to help. We are located in Harrow, London, with on site car parking and accessible from public transport links. Alternatively, if you are overseas we possess the capabilities to arrange a Skype call with you if it is more convenient.


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