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Your Rights as a Guardian

By: Angela Armes - Updated: 6 Feb 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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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
KnO - Your Question:
I am preparing to apply for legal guardianship for my two nephews who lost their mum and social services placed them in forster care. A contact was ordered by court two years ago between my family and the children biological father who is abroad. Now. My nephews are 11 and 10 years respectively, want to come and live with me as their only uncle. Can you please advise me what type of application forms should I fill to the family proceedings court. Thank you.

Our Response:
You will need a Special Guardianship Order, which will take the existing contract arrangements with the father into account. The Family Rights group has a useful guide Here
LawAndParents - 23-Aug-16 @ 2:26 PM
I am preparing to apply for legal guardianship for my two nephews who lost their mum and social services placed them in forster care.A contact was ordered by court two years ago between my family and the children biological father who is abroad.Now. My nephews are 11 and 10 years respectively, want to come and live with me as their only uncle.Can you please advise me what type of application forms should I fill to the family proceedings court.Thank you.
KnO - 20-Aug-16 @ 4:21 PM
I have 4 kids all born in Ireland. As parents both of us uk born. My ex took my kids 4 weeks ago without me knowing in the middle of he night and came to UK. I have had no contact since. I am now in uk. The children are my name egingtonI am father on all birth certs. What are my rights in uk for guardianship
Edo - 25-Jul-16 @ 8:51 PM
Khawaja- Your Question:
Am applying for the legal guardian ship certificate because am carrer with some one else that is 78 years old no boady looke after him.so how can I got the legal guardian certificate it is my legally requirements for the carrying him where can I got that certificate can advise me please.?

Our Response:
It might be worth going to your local Citizens' Advice Bureau to see if they can suggest any options for helping with care. You may need to apply to the courts for power of attorney if you want to be able to control his affairs/finances though.
LawAndParents - 19-Jul-16 @ 2:38 PM
Am applyingforthelegalguardianship certificatebecauseamcarrer with some one else that is 78 years old no boady looke after him .so how can I got the legalguardiancertificateit is my legallyrequirementsfor the carrying him where can I gotthat certificatecan adviseme please ......?
Khawaja - 18-Jul-16 @ 3:40 PM
Hi - Your Question:
My parents have a guardian order over me as I have ASD. I live in Scotland where you are an adult at 16 but with a guardianship order your parents look after you until you're 18 however I do not wish to stay with my parents anymore as they're controlling and manipulative, I want to leave home and I have a place to stay I just want to know that if I choose just to leave home can they really do anything regarding that I don't WANT to be at home/ let them make decisions for me anymore? In my opinion if I know what I want and can think for myself why should I need a guardianship order? If I leave home without them agreeing to let me leave can they make me come home and if they contacted the police would they be intitled to bring me back even if I didn't want to regardless of the guardianship order?

Our Response:
We don't know the terms of the guardianship order or enough about your own circumstances to comment really usefully on this unfortunately. If you want to question the guardianship order, discuss this with your parents and any other support workers involved. They may be able to help you to move out with the necessary support.
LawAndParents - 6-Jul-16 @ 10:20 AM
My parents have a guardian order over me as I have ASD. I live in Scotland where you are an adult at 16 but with a guardianship order your parents look after you until you're 18 however I do not wish to stay with my parents anymore as they're controlling and manipulative, I want to leave home and I have a place to stay I just want to know that if I choose just to leave home can they really do anything regarding that I don't WANT to be at home/ let them make decisions for me anymore? In my opinion if I know what I want and can think for myself why should I need a guardianship order? If I leave home without them agreeing to let me leave can they make me come home and if they contacted the police would they be intitled to bring me back even if I didn't want to regardless of the guardianship order?
Hi - 5-Jul-16 @ 8:05 AM
My 9 year old nephew is currently residing with my best friend of 16 years due to his mum passing away from cancer and she wrote a last minute will stating for him to live with them. They want to move him to Gran canaria and we want him to live it his we helped bring him up what can we do?
Bexter79 - 25-Jun-16 @ 9:21 AM
Hello. I currently live in the UK with my parents and my sister; we are all EU Nationals apart from my mum who is Vietnamese. She recently applied for a Visa however this was refused and my family will therefore be soon moving back to the Czech Republic. I have been living and studying in the UK for 6 years and am still doing so in full-time education at the age of 15. We have my parent's friend who will agree to take care of me and be my guardian. Would I be allowed to stay in the UK with her without my family? I don't think I can move back to the Czech as I am in my final year of completing my GCSE's and I would like to finish my education and have a career here. Would I require a legal document with this personal arrangement? Regards,
Hanka - 23-Jun-16 @ 6:05 PM
Nuno- Your Question:
My expartner is leaving UK but leaving our son with me ( father ).How can have legal guardian, in order to travel and do other things that needs mother permission? I need to have full parenting guardian , and how can I have it ?

Our Response:
You could create an agreement with your ex partner so say that you are the parent with full residencial care of your son. You could use a mediation service to create the agreement and have it made legally enforceable. Failing that, if you are unsure of your status, you could apply for a court order using court form C100 for full residence.
LawAndParents - 22-Jun-16 @ 10:08 AM
My expartner is leavingUK but leaving our son with me ( father ). How can have legal guardian, in order to travel and do other things that needs mother permission? I need to have full parenting guardian , and how can I have it ?
Nuno - 21-Jun-16 @ 11:09 AM
S - Your Question:
My father and step mother are both due to be sentenced in court in a few weeks and they are highly likely to get a prison sentence , I am 23 but my brother is only 12.would guardianship automatically be granted to his older siblings (there are three of us ) ? Or will we have to apply for guardianship ? Would we have to sort it out before the sentencing or when we find out if they have a suspended sentence or not ?

Our Response:
It might be worth asking your father and step mother to put something in place that indicates their wishes, just in case a prison sentence is issued.
LawAndParents - 25-Apr-16 @ 2:38 PM
My father and step mother are both due to be sentenced in court in a few weeks and they are highly likely to get a prison sentence , I am 23 but my brother is only 12 .would guardianship automatically be granted to his older siblings (there are three of us ) ? Or will we have to apply for guardianship ? Would we have to sort it out before the sentencing or when we find out if they have a suspended sentence or not ?
S - 24-Apr-16 @ 8:45 AM
scottg - Your Question:
Ive had a residence order in place now for almost two years however, my childrens mum has decided that she wants to quit her job and move back to spain with her parents. where does this leave me in regards of the residance order?

Our Response:
Does the order give you full residence with the children? If so, your children's mother cannot move them away without your consent. You might want to seek legal advice with regards to a prohibitive steps order.
LawAndParents - 15-Apr-16 @ 12:38 PM
ive had a residence order in place now for almost two years however, my childrens mum has decided that she wants to quit her job and move back to spain with her parents.. where does this leave me in regards of the residance order?
scottg - 14-Apr-16 @ 1:39 PM
My brother and his partner (british citizen) are both in jail in India - they have 2 daughter 12 & 15 years old that were born in India and have only visited the Uk twice on holiday. My brother has asked me - considering his situation - if I can become legal guardian and bring them to the UK to grow up here - he is likely to be in jail for another 6 or 7 years. What would I need to consider for this process? - the girls do not have passports and I have no idea what paperwork my brother has access to (birth certificates, etc...)
Rob - 31-Mar-16 @ 3:59 PM
I lived with a woman and her 6 month old baby for 2 years when she broke up with me and someone else moved in with no other children (and is still there).The child's biological father is not legally allowed to see the child but is on the birth certificate.I have continued to act as father to the child because I love him and he knows me as Daddy.He stays with me at my family home with my parents for 2 to 3 nights a week.However, I have little say in anything concerning the child and am often the last person the mother considers when making her arrangements - I am last on the list.I am acutely aware that the mother could decide one day that she doesn't want me to be Daddy anymore - I have no say.Both the mother and I work complicated shift patterns and my parents often look after the boy when I am in work or in bed if I have not got him on my day off.The boy will start school in Sept and childcare will become even more complicated.The child's mother has asked me if I want to be legal guardian (and may also be asking the current boyfriend the same as he is also close to the child). I love the child enormously - I would love to have more say in the child's upbringing and know that he isn't going to be whisked away from me.What things should I be considering in this role?
FRED - 19-Mar-16 @ 7:08 PM
I live with my partner and he just got full custody his 2 girls both under 9. My partner and I have a son together. If my partner was to go to jail would that make me they're guardian? Or would we need to be married?
halz - 8-Mar-16 @ 10:47 PM
Dear, My sister currently has two daughters in Ecuador South America. However, she has requested that I may become a guardian to her eldest daughter and she is no longer able to financially provide for her and do so, in many other aspects. My question is, as a British citizen, having lived here in London for 20 years, what can I do? And is this request possible to carry out? We have two children and we have raised them both to the point that they are at university now. So, we are more than capable of being guardians to her eldest daughter.
Deenaj - 7-Mar-16 @ 12:12 AM
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