Child Care » Special Guardianship

A Special Guardianship Order (SGO) can be applied for by either an individual or a couple who wish to obtain parental responsibility for a child.  They will share this with the child’s parents but can use it without the parents’ agreement.  It is an alternative to adoption, child arrangement orders or long-term fostering.

Special Guardianship Orders may be used when a child is no longer able to live with the birth parents because of, for example, an illness, family breakdown or the parents’ inability to meet the child’s needs on a long-term basis.

Special Guardianship Orders allow the legal relationship between the birth parents and the child to be maintained — a key difference from adoption procedures.

There are a number of legal requirements that an individual or couple must meet to enable them to apply for a Special Guardianship Order.  Our Child Care team of expert lawyers can advise you on whether a Special Guardianship Order is the right option for you and the child in question, taking into consideration how changes in the child’s circumstances might affect the child as well as you.

Our Child Care lawyers can also guide you through the eligibility stipulations in respect of applying for a Special Guardianship Order, assist you with preparing the application, make sure that both the relevant local authority and the family court have all the relevant details and documentation and, if necessary, represent you in court.

Our Child Care team includes lawyers who are members of the Family Law panel, Children panel, BAAF and NAGALRO.

Parents and children within care proceedings are eligible for funding through Legal Aid regardless of financial means.  Other family members may also qualify for Legal Aid, depending upon their circumstances.  Our Child Care team can advise you on this and arrange funding on your behalf.  In certain circumstances, the local authority may pay for advice to be obtained.

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