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Your Rights as a Guardian

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 18 Nov 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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We have special guardianship of my granddaughter. I separated from my husband 6 months ago and he hasn't really bothered with her since he left until recently i have told him its mot in her best interest as he hasnt been in her life and i dont want him coming in and out of life upsetting her but he said he will just turn up what can I do please help
Njc - 18-Nov-17 @ 9:37 PM
Tia - Your Question:
My grandson who is 11 wants to live with his aunty & uncle which his mother has agreed to for this to be done legally do the courts & social services have to be involved ?

Our Response:
Please see this guide from the Child Law Advice website which explains the options.
LawAndParents - 15-Nov-17 @ 9:59 AM
My grandson who is 11 wants to live with his aunty & uncle which his mother has agreed to for this to be done legally do the courts & social services have to be involved ?
Tia - 14-Nov-17 @ 6:34 AM
gee - Your Question:
I have a residence order on my grandson as his mum who is also my daughter suffered with mental health issues but is now a lot better and now he is 15 he went back to his birth mother and she is happy to have him and I am happy for them both so what I would like to know is do I have to go back court to surrender the residency order ?

Our Response:
You may be able to just contact the courts without having a further hearing. If there is still support worker/social services involved, you may have to involve them.
LawAndParents - 25-Oct-17 @ 11:27 AM
i have a residence order on my grandson as his mumwho is also my daughtersuffered with mental health issues but is now a lot better and now he is15 he wentback to his birth mother and she is happy to have him and I am happy for them bothso what I would like to know is do I have to go back court to surrender the residency order ?
gee - 22-Oct-17 @ 7:50 PM
My has been groomed since she was 15, she is now 17, and will be 18 in feb, the man has just been relased frim prison and my daughter has run away to be with him?, he is on thesex offenders register for life, my daughter and myself have had disclosure of his offences some months ago, but he has groomed her so well that i dont even know my daughter anymore? Shes had her contraceptive implant taken out about 3 weeks ago!, im so worried about her, and the fact shes blind to what this man has done to other children, have i got any possible way of gaining control to help my daughter out of this crazy life damaging situation. I feel my hands are tied, the police cant to anything because she left of her own free will?, this has shattered our family home.
Slp - 11-Oct-17 @ 9:46 AM
Me and my wife are legal guardians to a 5 year old girl. We are separating.Where do I stand legally as she says she is moving away and taking our little girl have I got any rights.
Griff - 9-Oct-17 @ 7:56 PM
Hi. I have been awarded and sgo for my nephew who is 12. Mum is refusing to hand over his passport. What can I do to get it as we want to book him on his first ever holiday with the rest of the family? Thank you
Mandih - 6-Oct-17 @ 3:50 PM
Hi. I have.m been awarded and sgo for my nephew who is 12. Mum is refusing to hand over his passport. What can I do to get it as we want to book him on his first ever holiday with the rest of the family? Thank you
Mandih - 6-Oct-17 @ 3:49 PM
Gemz - Your Question:
Hi my daughter lives somewhere with a special guardianship order in place.she has now turned 16 and wants to come back to me.can She? Thanks

Our Response:
Special guardianship orders usually last until the age of 18.Natural parents do not usually lose parental responsibility but a special guardian's parental responsibility does take priority over the birth parent(s). She'll only be able to return to you therefore, if the special guardian agrees. If not, you may have to apply to court for a decision.
LawAndParents - 3-Oct-17 @ 2:59 PM
Hi my daughter lives somewhere with a special guardianship order in place.she has now turned 16 and wants to come back to me.can She? Thanks
Gemz - 1-Oct-17 @ 7:47 PM
David Young - Your Question:
Hi id like some information. Im currently luving with my dad at the minute and me and my ex parter have a child together we have agreed that I have my son ever other weekend which were both happy with but as im living at my dads my nephew has been in trouble at school and the police and social services are involed and I told my ex partner thats hes had to come to my dads as this is the only place they can put him and shes kicked off with me saying tjat I now cant have my son for the weekend and my nephew has now been know for hitting his sister my ex partner has said that im not allowed to have him at my dads for the weekend as agreed cos she feels like my nephew is gonna hit my son even though I said I wpuldnt let that happen but shes not having any of it I just want to know am I still alright to have my son for the weekend as agreed even though my nephew has the police and social services involed. Thank you

Our Response:
We can't really advise on the rights and wrongs of this. It may be that you need to get a professional opinion in order to help both you and your ex with making the right decision.A court would probably order further investigation into the circumstances and make a decision based on the best interests of your son.
LawAndParents - 18-Sep-17 @ 2:22 PM
Hi id like some information. Im currently luving with my dad at the minute and me and my ex parter have a child together we have agreed that i have my son ever other weekend which were both happy with but as im living at my dads my nephew has been in trouble at school and the police and social services are involed and i told my ex partner thats hes had to come to my dads as this is the only place they can put him and shes kicked off with me saying tjat i now cant have my son for the weekend and my nephew has now been know for hitting his sister my ex partner has said that im not allowed to have him at my dads for the weekend as agreed cos she feels like my nephew is gonna hit my son even though i said i wpuldnt let that happen but shes not having any of it i just want to know am i still alright to have my son for the weekend as agreed even though my nephew has the police and social services involed. Thank you
David Young - 16-Sep-17 @ 10:07 PM
Hello, my mum has just died and at the minute my younger brother (14) is in my care (I took him home with me and our father was happy with this situation). I am 25 so age is not an issue. My father is remarried and lives two hours away, and is making plans for my brother to go live with him and his wife. My brother doesn't want to go, wants to stay at his school and has asked me and my partner if he can live with us. When the social worker (have to be involved due to the death) came to see us, our dad didn't come, but she seemed happy with my brother staying with us. What can I do to stop my brother going with our father? He doesn't want to, and I think he is better here in our home town, with his same school and friends, and all our family.
Big Sister - 9-Sep-17 @ 7:51 PM
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
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