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Your Rights as a Guardian

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 24 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Legal Guardian Guardian Parent Parents

Many adults find themselves as guardian to the children of their partner who has perhaps passed away or who is no longer medically fit to look after their children. As a guardian, you have to make decisions in the best interest of the children. With this in mind it is worth knowing what the legalities of being a guardian are?

Being a Legal Guardian

If you are made a legal guardian, you are responsible for the wellbeing and safety of those children under your guardianship. This includes making sure they are fed, clothed, sent to school and are looked after in the same way they would be if their parent or parents were around to do so.

As a guardian, you will be called upon to making decisions that will directly affect how the children are schooled, how they are taught the difference between right and wrong, and how they are supervised during their lives up to the age of adulthood.

Becoming a Legal Guardian

In order to become a legal guardian, you must first undergo assessment by Social Services who will submit reports and their findings to the Family Proceedings Court. You will be assessed to see how you interact and deal with the child or children, how you plan to support them and also how you plan to ensure that their upbringing continues in a manner befitting that as desired by the child’s parents.

Social Services and the Family Proceedings Court must be sure that you can cope with becoming a legal guardian and that the children are happy with you as their guardian.

Family Proceedings Court

This is a court that deals specifically with aspects of family life and the welfare of children. With settings a little less formal than those of a traditional criminal court, the Family Proceedings Court is designed to rule in favour of what is best for the children.

If you seek to become a legal guardian – either as the result of a parent’s request or because you think it is the right thing to do – you will be asked to appear before the Family Proceedings Court and explain why you feel you can uphold the family values and parental responsibilities initially charged to the parent.

Your Rights as Guardian

If the Family Proceedings Court issues you with custody of the children in accordance with the wishes of the parent and the findings of Social Services, you have as much right as you would if you were the children’s natural parents. You are responsible first and foremost with their upbringing and also their grounding in moral responsibility, and you are legally obliged to be consulted on any issues relating to the children’s education and general upbringing.

For more information on becoming a legal guardian, consult with a solicitor who specialises in family law and with Social Services who can provide you with advice on how to proceed.

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I am preparing my will. I would like my son to live with my sister. I will be leaving him money in a trust. As legal guardian, what rights does my sister have over my son's inheritance?
BenGavira - 24-Jul-17 @ 12:25 PM
Lynnie- Your Question:
Hi I've got. A sgo On two little boys who where removed from there parents due to being at risk The mother of the children now wants them back Can she get the sgo removed from us

Our Response:
The mother can apply to the courts to have the SGO removed but the courts will seriously consider all the circumstances involved and will liaise with socia services etc before making a decision.
LawAndParents - 7-Jul-17 @ 12:10 PM
Hi I've got. Asgo On two little boys who where removed from there parents due to being at risk The mother of the children now wants them back Can she get the sgo removed from us
Lynnie - 6-Jul-17 @ 4:09 PM
Dawny - Your Question:
I have a 16 year old nephew who wants to live with my family. His mother asked us to let him live with us. We are more than happy to do so, but would like some legal security. What would you advise? Tia

Our Response:
You could consider applying for a special guardianship order until he is 18. Here is where you'll find the form
LawAndParents - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:58 AM
I have a 16 year old nephew who wants to live with my family. His mother asked us to let him live with us. We are more than happy to do so, but would like some legal security. What would you advise? Tia
Dawny - 30-Jun-17 @ 8:49 PM
Hi, was wondering if you could help? My little girl currently lives with her dad as he has custody of her, social services were involved. I went through a bad patch after my ex got custody of her and drank too much, since then I have turned my life around and worked very hard to get here. I am currently pregnant and attending social services meetings for the unborn baby, who I love very much along with my daughter. Social services want joint guardianship with my unborn baby, they have been very nice. Will this mean they will help financially with the baby and help make decisions with me? Or will decisions be made without me as I don't want that happening? There is a plo meeting coming up. I have been told as long as everything goes OK and I remain doing well with this baby I can start seeing my daughter again. So that's positive. Any advise would be great. Thank you
Nikki - 16-Jun-17 @ 8:25 PM
Hi, my little girl is currently with her dad he has custody of her. Social services were involved. I am now currently pregnant and attend core meetings with children's services, to do with the unborn baby, due to drinking too much for a period in my life when my ex got custody of my little girl, who I miss dearly. I have honestly turned my life around and worked very hard to get here. My social worker who is very nice is talking about me having joint guardianship with social services for my unborn baby? I am not happy about this? What will it mean? That they can make decisions without me? That they will help financially with my baby? And the next thing is a plo what will this intale as I already attend parenting courses, pregnancy yoga, church? Things I enjoy? Please advise. Thank you.
Nikki - 16-Jun-17 @ 8:15 PM
Sonia - Your Question:
Hi my mum has an Sgo with my daughter it's been going on for far too long now she was removed when she was 1 and is now 5 my life has changed so much for the better than before! Everyone can see that my mum won't let me have my daughter over night unless I apply to the courts for over night stay do I have to do this?

Our Response:
You may have to do this if the person with the SGO is refusing to accommodate you. It might also depend on whether social services etc were involved at the time.
LawAndParents - 16-Jun-17 @ 2:20 PM
Hi my mum has an Sgo with my daughter it's been going on for far too long now she was removed when she was 1 and is now 5 my life has changed so much for the better than before! Everyone can see that my mum won't let me have my daughter over night unless I apply to the courts for over night stay do I have to do this?
Sonia - 14-Jun-17 @ 3:01 PM
Can you help, we became legal guardian's to a 15 year old boy who lost his mum a few months ago. She left it in her will for him to come to us. He Has moved 150 miles away from where he grew up and has left his family and friends behind. He wants to be back home with his family which we can understand. We give him all the support he needs but he just needs to be around family. His nan has said he can move in with her if he wants. Is it as simple as him just moving back? He turns 16 in 2 weeks. Also, where would we stand with his education? If he missed school, would we be liable for him and taken to court/ fined as we are his guardian's?
Fizz - 31-May-17 @ 11:58 PM
Queenielisa- Your Question:
Hi wondered if anyone could help , my nephews partner had 5 children that were took off her 3 months ago my nephew is the father of the youngest,their both at the moment just allowed supervised visits but my sister has took on the youngest one because he's blood but doesn't get a penny , she had to come out of work to look after him , now she can't afford rent council tax ect does anyone know what she could do or where to go , she really is finding it hard right now thanks

Our Response:
She could try citizens advice. If she is the full time carer she should be able to get Child Benefit etc. Her son as the father of the child, should also be contributing to the upkeep.The Turn2 US website has a benefit search facility that might help. She might also want to consider applying for a special guardianship order to make the arrangements more stable and help with claiming any financial help.
LawAndParents - 24-May-17 @ 11:29 AM
Hi need some advise. Few years ago I lost all my children due to neglect , my drinking. I was took to Court. My youngest was taken away and her aunt has legal guardian ship. Ive now turned my life round. Don't drink. And im engaging with the right people since the aunt got gurdain ship. She doesn't stay intouch. Cancel my appointment says shes going phone but doesnt. I now have another baby on the way and social services has put her on child protection just for 3 months. Afternoon that she's off what do I do about getting my little girl home
Philomena hallisey - 23-May-17 @ 11:06 AM
Hi wondered if anyone could help , my nephews partner had 5 children that were took off her 3 months ago my nephew is the father of the youngest,their both at the moment just allowed supervised visits but my sister has took on the youngest one because he's blood but doesn't get a penny , she had to come out of work to look after him , now she can't afford rent council tax ect does anyone know what she could do or where to go , she really is finding it hard right now thanks
Queenielisa - 23-May-17 @ 12:21 AM
Heartbroken - Your Question:
Please help. I have had physical custody of my grandson since he was 13 months and guardianship since 2009 for a period of over 9 years. There was no contact with the mother until a little over 2 years ago. Now she wants to take me to court to get him back. Her past involves drugs, incarceration and medical issues because of the drugs. She has turned her life around and I have been allowing him to spend every other weekend with her. I was wondering what rights I might have to stop this and what I should do next. I will appreciate any insights to this matter. Thank you in advance.

Our Response:
Do you have a court order for residency or a guardianship order. You daughter can apply to court but as you have been his guardian/carer for the past 9 years the courts will consider all aspects of the case and make their decision based his best interests.
LawAndParents - 11-May-17 @ 9:55 AM
Please help. I have had physical custody of my grandson since he was 13 months and guardianship since 2009 for a period of over 9 years. There was no contact with the mother until a little over 2 years ago. Now she wants to take me to court to get him back. Her past involves drugs, incarceration and medical issues because of the drugs. She has turned her life around and I have been allowing him to spend every other weekend with her. I was wondering what rights I might have to stop this and what I should do next. I will appreciate any insights to this matter. Thank you in advance.
Heartbroken - 8-May-17 @ 3:47 PM
Hi I wonder if you can help? I have a friend who has learning disabilities and societal services are saying she is not capable of looking after her unborn child and he will be taken away from her when she has had him. ( This is her 2nd child) 1st child was adopted. My friend has told her baby's social worker she wants me and my husband to basically be his legal guardians. Do you know what would happen in this situation?
Lou lou - 12-Apr-17 @ 7:29 PM
Kay- Your Question:
My Grandson is being brought up by legal Guardian's who are the mothers Uncle and Aunty.For the first couple of years there was never any issues with me having my Grandson come to stay or me taking him out for day's except the Guardians made it a condition I could only have him if I took on his older brother as well who is not my Grandson, out of the goodness of my heart I did this and treat him no different.The Guardians have always been difficult and don't like me because they don't like my son but they shouldn't treat me unfairly because of this and I have never had my son around when I had the boys.They have over the last few months been unreasonable over my contact and keep putting restrictions on when I can see the boys knowing I work shifts, they won't accept this therefore I haven't seen my Grandson for five months and still have both boys Christmas presents here which I'm so sad about.I have gone to a solicitor and requested mediation but they declined so I have had to log it with the courts.Please do you have any advice.

Our Response:
Sadly no, we hope the courts can help you with something in this respect.
LawAndParents - 31-Mar-17 @ 11:44 AM
My Grandson is being brought up by legal Guardian's who are the mothers Uncle and Aunty. For the first couple of years there was never any issues with me having my Grandson come to stay or me taking him out for day's except the Guardians made it a condition I could only have him if I took on his older brother as well who is not my Grandson, out of the goodness of my heart I did this and treat him no different. The Guardians have always been difficult and don't like me because they don't like my son but they shouldn't treat me unfairly because of this and I have never had my son around when I had the boys. They have over the last few months been unreasonable over my contact and keep putting restrictions on when I can see the boys knowing I work shifts, they won't accept this therefore I haven't seen my Grandson for five months and still have both boys Christmas presents here which I'm so sad about. I have gone to a solicitor and requested mediation but they declined so I have had to log it with the courts. Please do you have any advice.
Kay - 30-Mar-17 @ 2:50 PM
5 years ago I became my nephews legal guardian after my sister died,but I have since lost my dad and mum who helped me financially,is there any help I can get regarding clothing allowance or any other help
jools - 7-Mar-17 @ 3:21 PM
Shaz - Your Question:
Please can you help me.I am distraught.I have an adult special needs daughter living in supported living, she has complex needs but is capable of making some decisions. I have not been happy with the quality of care and management of her needs.The home where she is have barred access to my visiting her.They say she doesnt want to speak to me and last time she was at my home for a 3 day sleepover she was in high spirits. After her return to her place, I was visited by police citing a FMPO being issued against me ???? they took her passport and told me she had made a statement, but its outrageous someone has brainwashed or influenced her.It is not my daughter speaking.Its unfounded.No one is talking to explain , carers ,social workers.Im at a loss.My daughter is prone to being easily exploited.I fear this has happenned but at the cost of defaming my parental status.What do I do. ? please help.It has devastated me.This is a totally far fetched claim one I could never conceive.

Our Response:
Can you find someone else, a friend or another family member who would be allowed to visit? They should be able to check she is well and perhaps ask her about the situation. You could also try the Family Lives helpline 0808 800 2222 they may be able to find someone who can find out what's happening on your behalf.
LawAndParents - 7-Feb-17 @ 11:49 AM
Please can you help me.I am distraught.I have an adult special needs daughter living in supported living, she has complex needs but is capable of making some decisions. I have not been happy with the quality of care and management of her needs.The home where she is have barred access to my visiting her.They say she doesnt want to speak to me and last time she was at my home for a 3 day sleepover she was in high spirits. After her return to her place, I was visited by police citing a FMPO being issued against me ???? they took her passport and told me she had made a statement, but its outrageous someone has brainwashed or influenced her.It is not my daughter speaking.Its unfounded.No one is talking to explain , carers ,social workers.Im at a loss.My daughter is prone to being easily exploited.I fear this has happenned but at the cost of defaming my parental status.What do I do. ? please help .It has devastated me .This is a totally far fetched claim one I could never conceive .
Shaz - 6-Feb-17 @ 9:00 AM
Hi, my sister is 3 years old and her mum has a substance abuse problem that she has been denying for a long time. There have been several instances where she could have been severely injured because the mum was passed out in bed and instances where she has left the house to go meet her dealer and left my sister in the house. My dad is willing to sign over guardian rights to me and my elder brother (i'm 24 and he is 28). What can we do in regards to getting the mum to sign it? Is there a way to get her to take a drug test to prove what we're saying?
MissVLCTries - 30-Jan-17 @ 11:48 AM
Rebecca - Your Question:
Hi, my son has had many issues with schooling in the UK with bullying ect and my Brother lives in Canada BC. Him and his wife with 3 children are happy to accept my son into their family and raise him as their own. He spent 8 weeks recently and They would take him on a guardianship. however do I ask for this to be done in the UK or Canada? my brother is originally from the UK and has been in Canada for 10 years. Any help or advice would be so helpful or how I go about this in a speedy manor. The reason is he will need to be in school asap

Our Response:
You will need to find out whether he will be accepted in Canada first. Is is other parent in agreeement?
LawAndParents - 17-Jan-17 @ 1:57 PM
Hi, my son has had many issues with schooling in the UK with bullying ect and my Brother lives in Canada BC. Him and his wife with 3 children are happy to accept my son into their family and raise him as their own.He spent 8 weeks recently and They would take him on a guardianship.. however do I ask for this to be done in the UK or Canada? my brother is originally from the UK and has been in Canada for 10 years.. Any help or advice would be so helpful or how I go about this in a speedy manor. The reason is he will need to be in school asap
Rebecca - 16-Jan-17 @ 4:25 PM
Silvie- Your Question:
HiI'm a Brazilian/British citizen and just got the legal guardianship of my 17 years old niece and need to take her with me to my home in London, how do I proceed I have no clue where to star.Thanks and regardsSilvie

Our Response:
Where are you taking her from? Is it another country? Sorry but there really isn't enough information here for us to comment helpfully.
LawAndParents - 15-Nov-16 @ 2:09 PM
Hi I'm a Brazilian/British citizen and just got the legal guardianship of my 17 years old niece and need to take her with me to my home in London, how do I proceed I have no clue where to star. Thanks and regards Silvie
Silvie - 14-Nov-16 @ 11:17 AM
My husbands ex wife died 4 years ago they have a 21 year old disabled daughter together she lived with her mother they didn't have anything in writing or court they was just both parents who shared the daughter so is my husband now her guardian?
Lee - 19-Oct-16 @ 3:50 PM
Hi i am looking for some advice i have my two grandsons living with me one is 4 and has been with me for a year now and baby is 6months old and we have had him since he was born i am waiting for sgo to go back to court what i wanted to no if the ago was awarded can i apdopt them? They was taking way from there mother due to neglect
J.w72 - 5-Sep-16 @ 9:27 PM
Im trying to find out if it would b possible to get custody of my little sister she was adopted at birth in Ireland and now has been put in voluntary care by adoptive parents!! N told she's not worth the money she need for help with her mental health with runs in the family so adoptive parents would have been aware and she's so unhappy its breakin my heart i grew up in care i have a child of my own who i have shared custody with his dad (settled out of court) so not really sure what the laws around stuff like this are
sammii - 4-Sep-16 @ 4:55 PM
Hi,i have had my niece (8) and nephew (9)in my care for the last 6 weeks, they have returned home to my ex sister in law 3 nights during this time, but each time she asks me to return them it is only because she has a visit the following day by her support worker or by social service, once the visit is over she does her disappearing act again ( she shacks up in a drug den for 5 days at a time drinking and taking drugs ) she has a partner at home that is aware that she does this and he is also aware that she sleeps with the drug deal of the property where she shacks up weekly (they have been having an affair since last christmas) her current partner has 2 children with her (2)and (5), he too is a regular drinker and drug taker, each time she turns back up they fight in front of the children, when i say fight i may punch kick, bite smash windows use baseball bats, and she has even stabbed him before in front of the eldest child who was 6 at the time! and he still asks questions about it, he is frightened of the dark and will not even go to the toilet without knowing someone is wait at the bottom of the stairs.The mum was served an asbo and was evicted from the council so had to go private but has now ran up so much debt she is about to get a court order and be evicted again, the council have told her they will not rehome her nor can she bid on any property with them until next march (2017) so they only thing they can do is put her in a hostel but there are not many that will accommodate that many children,so may have to move towns! my nephew has ADHD and im sure there is slight Autism but i have No PR to push GP appointments,( i work in child services supporting and reviewing children with complex needsand behavioural problems, so i have a great understanding of my nephews needs. The children do not want to go home and my Nephew has self harmed and will completely breakdown when anything is mentioned about going home, before i had the children this time, i offered her help by saying i am willing to take the children off of her for a year to help them and bring their behaviour around (because i can each time i have them i get them to a good place and form some good control but then they return home and its all broken again after a few days!)in this year i suggested she used the time to get clean, find a place to live, remove the negative and drink/drug influences away from her life, keep in contact with the children and form good bonds with them at the same time showing social services that she is working on her parenting skills! her response was a year is a long time ( even though im sure it would take her a bit longer) it all boils down to the money she receives for the children mainly the DLA for my nephew (i don't want the money myself and partner work full time) but this money feeds her habits. i have recently contacted social services and reported safeguarding issues because i can no longer support her in this way i feel like im just help
boue - 27-Aug-16 @ 2:42 PM
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