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Spotlight on Special Guardianship Orders

Published on 26 March 2018 | Modified on 15 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett
Child Solicitors

What are Special Guardianship Orders?

Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) appoints one or more individuals to be a child’s ‘Special Guardian’. This will give the Special Guardian ‘Parental Responsibility’. They are entitled to exercise this to the exclusion of any other person with Parental Responsibility. An SGO provides permanence, without the legal separation of the child and birth parents, which is involved when a child is adopted.

The Special Guardian will have responsibility for any day to day decision making relating to the child and their upbringing. They will also be able to ‘override’ the decisions made by any other person who has Parental Responsibility.

Who can apply for an SGO?

In order to apply for an SGO you must be over the age of 18. You cannot be the parent of the child it is concerning. The court will assess whether the SGO is in the best interests of the child. If you wish to apply for an SGO you must give at least 3 months written notice to the Local Authority. The Local Authority can then determine whether you are a viable long term care provider for the child and what support services should be provided. The service includes counselling, advice and financial support. Any financial support can be used to facilitate someone becoming a Special Guardian, or help towards the continuation of the order by providing a weekly allowance for the benefit of the child.

Why an SGO?

Children under an SGO can remain in touch with their birth family. This order is useful for children who may not be suitable for adoption, for instance, due to their age, but who would still benefit from a stable placement with a long term Guardian.

It also provides the Special Guardian with ‘enhanced’ Parental Responsibility. This ensures that where there is any conflict between the holders of Parental Responsibility, the Special Guardian can make the final decision in the best interests of the child.

Our experienced Family Solicitors are on hand should you or someone you know require assistance obtaining an SGO.

We have Family Solicitors at all of our offices across the UK. You can arrange an appointment by completing this form. Alternatively, see our Divorce and Family services.

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