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Your Rights as a Guardian

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 23 Oct 2018 | 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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My husband and I are about to be give an SGO on a baby girl, we have had her since she was 12 weeks old. We are fostering her at the moment as we are both foster carers and originally we was told we could adopt her and change her name but as court proceedings progressed the sw advised it would be best to go with the SGO as that's what the caffcass officer was hoping for as I was related to the baby's father (My cousin, he was adopted) but was told that once the SGO was granted in 2 years I could apply to adopt her and it would go through straight away on an open adoption. Is this correct? And if it is after the 2 years how do we begin the proceedings as we have already been told we won't have any dealing with ss once the SGO goes through.We have also been calling this little girl by a different name as we was under the impression we could change it, how do we stand on this? Thank you in advance for your advise x
Louise - 23-Oct-18 @ 11:45 PM
My 17 yr old son is under special guardianship order and carer has kicked him him out due to him getting into trouble in every aspect of his life and they can't trust him in the house as he steals everything and even stole their car keys. He also has a youth record. The carer said he needs to change and be responsible before being allowed home . Are they legally allowed to kick him out? I haven't seen my son in 6 yrs but not out of choice. He has now contacted me asking for financial help. I don't live near him and need some advice of where he should go for help. He has ADHD and emotional problems some which are my fault. He thinks he can work but if he isn't in education I didn't think he could. Any advice would be great. I feel helpless
Big H - 21-Oct-18 @ 3:26 PM
My 8 year-old son has been living with my controlling mother since he was 6 months old has she has always wanted him since he was born I have been in his life since day 1, I recently had a baby 4 months ago and my son has only seen his brother handful of times my so called mother has changed her number so i cant av contact with my son and now my stuck my sister has blocked me from.calling her phone so i cud speak to my son! I av been trying for years to get my boy back but the witch that has him has told me im never getting him back they slag me of to my son which is wrong n reason my mum won't let me have him is cus she will lose her 3 bed house also his money which she spends on herself n my boy only gets stuff wen its on sale or wen she's bought wat she wants for herself! Anyway I've been told i can just go take him but she has threatened to take me to court over him I miss my son so much n not been able to see him wat can i do in getting him back for good I av been told by a solicitor that if i just take him then my witch of a mother can apply for residency order please I don't know wat to do.
Nl - 7-Oct-18 @ 3:18 AM
My husband and I have been special guardians for 3 of my daughters children for nearly 5 years. My daughter wants to get her children back and she has made many positive changes to her life style. I agree they should go back with her but what do we do now. How much do these costs usually amount to . Many thanks
Clare - 3-Oct-18 @ 3:23 PM
My late sister died when her boys were 9 and 12. Now her husband is also dying (was given 6 months to live over a year ago) and the boys are 15 and 18. The eldest has I believed been diagnosed with autism and relies on his father for personal care etc I have a 12 and 13 year old and live about 2 hours from the boys. The house they are in is owned outright and I am a trustee until the boys come of age. I have been asking to become a legal guardian for the boys along with an aunt on the other side (irish) that I have not met. I am also a contact point for two disabled sisters and my mother who lives close. I run a business too. If I become a joint guardian what does this mean? My BIL is asking if we can spend more time with the boys so they get used to us before he dies. I'd consider having them live with us but doubt my husband would agree.Also affect on my children (one boys and one girl). Does anyone have any advice? thanks Mrs D
Mrs Devonshire - 11-Sep-18 @ 10:42 AM
STAN - Your Question:
I have been a legal guardian to my wife's daughters son for the last 4 years The natural mother has drug/alcohol and violent tendencies.My wife now want's the natural mother to have unsupervised access to the child which I disagree withWhere do I stand legally in this matter?

Our Response:
If you think the your guardian might be at risk by being allowed unsupervised action, you should talk to a professional, such as a social worker. They will be able to advise you whether this would be right for the child or whether precautions (supervision etc) should be taken. State your reasons for disagreeing clearly and calmly...always in the best interests of the child.
LawAndParents - 7-Aug-18 @ 1:58 PM
I have been a legal guardian to my wife's daughters son for the last 4 years The natural mother has drug/alcohol and violent tendencies. My wife now want's the natural mother to have unsupervised access to the child which I disagree with Where do I stand legally in this matter?
STAN - 6-Aug-18 @ 7:35 AM
I am the childs legal guardian and maternal grandparent and i suffered a withdrawal from prescribed medication the child was placed back with mum as a temp arrangement and now im not allowed contact or allowed to exercise any of my rights and obligations laid out in the court order the child was in my care for 11 of the 13 years
jessy - 13-Jul-18 @ 2:19 PM
Hi I have parental rights and responsibilities and a residency order for my niece since the day she was born. There was never a father put on her birth certificate now my sister has married and put her husband on the birth certificate and done a name change without my permission as the form asks if everyone with rights has signed the form. No dna test has been done.
Emzy - 13-Jul-18 @ 12:16 AM
Virgolady - Your Question:
Social services took me to court because I am under the mental health depression and I’m a hoarder I am on the waiting list for mental health help from mind , they have removed my 7 year old son from my car and put him in my daughters care until he is 18 yrs I have taken my own steps in getting better , I have cleared my home of all my hoarding I bettered my son schooling from 62% and got it to 91% thing where looking on the up for me and my son , now he has gone I can only see him once a month being supervised, pls can anyone give me advice for what I can do to get him back.

Our Response:
You need to find someone who can give you individual support. Go back to your GP for help with your mental health problems and give Family Rights Group a call on 0808 801 0366 for help on the steps you can take to get more contact with your son.
LawAndParents - 22-Jun-18 @ 11:35 AM
Social services took me to court because I am under the mental health depression and I’m a hoarder I am on the waiting list for mental health help from mind , they have removed my 7 year old son from my car and put him in my daughters care until he is 18 yrs I have taken my own steps in getting better , I have cleared my home of all my hoarding I bettered my son schooling from 62% and got it to 91% thing where looking on the up for me and my son , now he has gone I can only see him once a month being supervised, pls can anyone give me advice for what I can do to get him back...
Virgolady - 21-Jun-18 @ 2:37 AM
My husband and myself have put ourselves forward to be a connected persons foster carers as my baby cousin was into care, we have undergone out assessments such we have our last one in june . The reason I'm posting is for some advice mainly as we had our assessment yesterday in which the social worker was able to give us some light on were out application was heading well it's not good news as she is saying she cannot give a positive recommendation to the panel as she has concerns one in which is my fertility as after having two eptopics which was three years ago she feels it is something that has affected my life and will continue to do so. I for one myself have learned to live with the losses and accept that i may not be able to have children naturally but it seems she has more of an issue with it then myself, so my question is can she use that against me would it be best if I wrote a letter to present at panel in my own words how I have managed to cope with the losses what do I do, i really don't want to loose my cousin knowing my husband and I are very capable of looking after her if her father losses in court
Titch - 23-May-18 @ 5:36 PM
Hi , i have 5 sons 4 of which are grown up and left the family home , i divorced my 1st partner along time ago to whom i had four of our sons together , then i met my 2nd partner and my youngest son of 14 years old now, i did however have a very bad relationship with his father and their was alot of domestic abuse involved , so when my son of 14 was growing up it was challenging and to the point where i've had his dad challenging me from day 1 always calling the social services on my saying i was unfit or i had not had my son to school this day or that day , i have not kept my son off school for no reason the social workers over the years have came out followed up the concerns an had non to report of the way i brought my son up, yet his father continued to take me to court year after year trying to gain residency of our son ,he was and is a violent man, my son at age 12 had became different his behaviour got more challenging and out of control he was being violent towards me refusing to go to school , his behaviour over the years was always challenging very but he had never hit me until that point and age , i had a number of social care workersfrom different departments as i went to them for help with my son so it happened my worse fear was they took him into care, so its been two years his father only ever took his son on a Saturday every week for one day and he continues to bring me down bad mouth me in front of my son , at meetings LAC reviews even at Hearings in front of all these people in authority yet he gets away with it , hes is also now being considered for residency i have done nothing wrong i have never stopped my sons father from seeing him , nothing have i done wrong why is this happening ? , i am in despair and hurt the authorities can turn something round to suit them.
nissy - 13-May-18 @ 7:36 AM
My husbands ex girlfriend who he has children to stopped my husband from seeing there children 8 yrs ago when we had our own son, she has in the past kicked 2 of there children out due to her not being able to cope so they came to live with us even tho contact was stopped and only allowed when she could no longer cope but the other children was still not allowed to see him,now a third child is again getting out of control and she can’t cope he won’t go to school or do as she asks, she’s put him on our door step after 8 years of no contact because she’s now going to be fined or took to court does and will this mean my husband will be fined or took to court aswell because she has no control over this child and has stopped my husband having contact ? We’re unsure what to do regarding him as this is no way our fault solely on her doing he was born in Dec 2013 and he is on the birth certificate, any Information would be great
H - 10-May-18 @ 11:24 PM
loulou - Your Question:
Can you please advise me if a guardianship court proceeding can happen without my knowledge.Thank you

Our Response:
What is your relationship to the guardian/child?
LawAndParents - 20-Apr-18 @ 2:39 PM
Can you please advise me if a guardianship court proceeding can happen without my knowledge. Thank you
loulou - 18-Apr-18 @ 12:12 PM
John - Your Question:
I presently have a shared residency order provided in 2002 to take parental responsibility of our grandson. Unfortunately my ex wife died recently, (although she did remarry 15 days before she passed). My question is - does the parental responsibility now fall solely in my hands which I am totally happy with, but does his now new 'step grandfather' have any rights in important decision making?

Our Response:
Has the step grandfather ever applied to the courts for parental responsibility or have you consented to any application from him to have parental responsbility? If not, there will be no parental responsibility. Your shared residency order was 16 years ago, so how old is the child?
LawAndParents - 10-Apr-18 @ 10:24 AM
i presently have a shared residency order provided in 2002 to take parental responsibility of our grandson. Unfortunately my ex wife died recently, (although she did remarry 15 days before she passed) . My question is - does the parental responsibility now fall solely in my hands which i am totally happy with, but does his now new 'step grandfather'have any rights in important decision making?
John - 9-Apr-18 @ 7:27 AM
My ex and I have separated 2 years ago. After a year, my ex has decided they no longer wish to have anything to do with me, or the children we have guardianship for. Is it possible to have their guardianship rescinded so that only I have guardianship? It's what they want, so it wouldn't be contested.
Paul - 26-Mar-18 @ 4:24 PM
vic - Your Question:
Hello My partner and I have separated and have an adopted 4year old. He see her every other weekend. she resides with me and I am financially responsible for her. He constantly states he has rights when he wishes to randomly see her in the week nights when she is tired after nursery and I don't feel that he is acting in her best interests. I have the opportunity of a better paid job to provide greater financial security for her but it is 300miles away.he can not look after her or provide financially for her so I feel moving for this job would be better for us as it would also mean that I am ear my family. Would he be able to prevent me moving? is it best that I get a residency order over my daughter to enable us to move?

Our Response:
Even with a residency order, your ex partner will retain parental responsibility and will therefore have a say in any important decisions.It's perfectly possible for him to apply for prohibited steps order.
LawAndParents - 16-Mar-18 @ 2:39 PM
My child has been with a foster carer for 1 year and she going to take me to court for legal guardianship what will this mean
Telza - 15-Mar-18 @ 8:52 PM
Hello My partner and I have separated and have an adopted 4year old. He see her every other weekend. she resides with me and I am financially responsible for her. He constantly states he has rights when he wishes to randomly see her in the week nights when she is tired after nursery and I don't feel that he is acting in her best interests. I have the opportunity of a better paid job to provide greater financial security for her but it is 300miles away.he can not look after her or provide financially for her so I feel moving for this job would be better for us as it would also mean that I am ear my family. Would he be able to prevent me moving? is it best that I get a residency order over my daughter to enable us to move?
vic - 13-Mar-18 @ 12:48 PM
We, as grandparents, are looking after our 10 year old grandson after the death of our daughter a year ago, who in her Will appointed us legal guardians. We thought we were automatically legal guardians with parental control but now are having doubts. Should we register with the authorities to make our guardianship official? The child's father is not named on the Birth Certificate but he has regular contact with his son and is intending to go to Court with a C1 in view of our ages (73 and 78).If the father is successful with his C1 will we lose our rights ? Thank you
Rona - 1-Mar-18 @ 10:23 PM
Me and my daughter are leagle guardians for 2 young boys my nephews who unfortunately lost both parents 2years ago. We claim leagle guardianship and family allowance. We struggle with work and especially the school Holliday. We gave no other help it’s like we just had them and no one has ever been to see if they are ok or anything which they are fine. I was just wandering if we were intitled to any other benifit it’s really hard trying to cloth them feed them just for extra £16 leagle guardianship allowance.
Shirley - 1-Mar-18 @ 1:54 PM
jc - Your Question:
I have my nephew that I love him but my concern is the legal guardian is her grandmother she is going back to Puerto rico and he going to stay with me but he is in high school I want to give him a good educated life. the grandmother ask me if that ok if he stay with me. of course I want him to stay my question is what is the next step that I have to do. please I need an answer I want to do the best for him he is 16 years old.

Our Response:
You could consider applying for a special guardianship order? Here is some more information from the family rights group
LawAndParents - 19-Feb-18 @ 10:49 AM
I have my nephew that I love him but my concern is the legal guardian is her grandmother she is going back to Puerto rico and he going to stay with me but he is in high school I want to give him a good educated life. the grandmother ask me if that ok if he stay with me. of course I want him to stay my question is what is the next step that I have to do. please I need an answer I want to do the best for him he is 16 years old.
jc - 18-Feb-18 @ 2:38 AM
Neussy- Your Question:
My uncle being the arrogant pig he is has just threatened me via email, telling me that if I attempt to move in with or even see my boyfriend he will take out some court order that states I can’t see him at all. He said if he does this is means that I will have a mark against my name for the rest of my life. Is this even possible? And if so what right does he have? He is not my legal guardian, I am 17 and my boyfriend is 19

Our Response:
Why would he be able to do this? Sorry there really isn't enough information here for us to give you any advice.
LawAndParents - 16-Feb-18 @ 3:41 PM
My uncle being the arrogant pig he is has just threatened me via email, telling me that if I attempt to move in with or even see my boyfriend he will take out some court order that states I can’t see him at all. He said if he does this is means that I will have a mark against my name for the rest of my life. Is this even possible? And if so what right does he have? He is not my legal guardian, I am 17 and my boyfriend is 19
Neussy - 15-Feb-18 @ 10:16 AM
Hi. My 3 children 9, 6 and 2, live with my grandmother as she is their legal guardian. My grandmother now refuses to let me see or talk to them even though it was arranged in court that I'm to have contact. Apart from December 23rd 2017 I haven't seen them since June 2017. Every time I have called the landline and spoke to my 6year old he asks when I'm going to see him again and I have to tell him to ask nanny. When I have spoke to my 9year old over the phone in the past before my nan cut all contact, she has told me numerous times that she wants to live with myself and my partner. Recently, I have found out that my nan hits (not smack) my 9year old the last time that happened she hit my daughter across the face. My daughter has behaviour problems but adHD has been ruled out. My 6 year old however, does have adhd. If my nan can hit my daughter when she is misbehaving then what is not to say that she's been hitting my 6 year old and 2 year old too? Can I apply to the courts to have my children returned to my care and what steps should I take if my nan refuses to let me have any contact with them?
Kelbell - 14-Feb-18 @ 4:47 PM
Gabby - Your Question:
My grandson will be 18 in April 2018. Due to a family breakup I.e. he refused to live with his mum and her fiance as he feels he would not be safe so is now living with us his grandparents. He has autism and attends a special school. He has Aspergers.ADD and PDA. He wants me his Nannan to be his guardian as at a review meeting they had to get his mum's permission to pass on relevant information to a 3rd party to do with his transfer from one L.A. to another in regards to his future education. He therefore wants me to start court proceedings to remove his mum as his guardian even though I have tried to tell him he's 18 in 8 weeks time. His reply was look what happened at that meeting. Ge is very rigid in his thinking etc What to do?? ???

Our Response:
Is he registered with special needs etc? If so the scope of this could extend past his 18th birthday and you may need to take official steps to become his legal guardian.
LawAndParents - 13-Feb-18 @ 2:32 PM
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