Special Guardianship is an order made by the Family Court that places a child or young person to live with someone other than their parent(s) on a long-term basis.
A Special Guardianship order seeks to secure the long-term placement of a child or young person with another and provide the Special Guardian with Parental Responsibility. The Special Guardian will also assist the child or young person in maintaining ties with their birth parents. Parental Responsibility will allow the Special Guardian to make the necessary day-to-day decisions in respect to the child or young person to the exclusion of all others with Parental responsibility, save for another Special Guardian.
Unlike adoption, Special Guardianship will not remove the Parental Responsibility of the child’s parents. However, a Special Guardian has a higher level of Parental Responsibility and will only need to consult the parents in more complex situations.
A Special Guardianship Order can be made in favour of more than one person and joint applications can also be made (parties do not have to be married). Not everyone is entitled to be a Special guardian as this is subject to various criteria, however if you do not meet the criteria you can request permission from the Court who will also seek the assistance of the Local Authority in making their decision.
Here at CSL Law, we can provide you with further guidance and tailored advice in respect to the law and procedure involved in applying for a Special Guardianship Order as well as assist you in the preparation of your application to the Court or other options that may be available to you.