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.
As a person who’s had sgo on my nieces from a young age I think that it is better for them if they live with you long term however when they turn of age they cannot get housed . If they are older they are better off being fostered as they (if you want them to ) will receive help in being rehoused with a grant to help with furnishings .
Madz - 9-Jul-21 @ 1:26 PM
i am taking care of a 14yr old girl, as her parents have kicked her out of her family home .
they have told her that i can foster her if i want which they have consented for me to do so .
I would like to make it a more permanent thing and apply for legal guardianship for her through the law side of things she also wants me to now, the thing is i am a single mother of 5 children 2 of whom have left home as they are grown up i have 3 still home with me ,
i have given her a bedroom of her own and i am getting her back into school too .
My Question is do you think i would be able to apply for a residents order for her to live here on a more permanent basis
mumsy to all.x - 11-Mar-21 @ 8:49 PM
My son went to live with a woman who had a 3 month old baby boy. The biological father of the boy absconded when he was told she was pregnant. My son lived with her for 3 years and they split up . During this time and from then on the boy who is now 7 called my son daddy and my son looked on him as his own, with the full approval of the boys mother The boy looks on my wife and I as his grandparents. My son has now found a new girlfriend and they have a house. My son and the boys biological mother share all things to do with the boy, he spends 3 days living at my sons house and 4 days with his mother. My sons fiancée is in full agreement with the arrangement, and looks upon him as her step son. My son and his fiancée have no children of there own they are 32 and 27 years old . occasionally the boy stays with my wife and I at our house. Would my son who has the approval of the boys mother be able to get legal guardianship of the boy.
Al - 8-Mar-21 @ 8:51 AM
Hi, my husband and i separated last year, divorced this year, we were granted an SGO for my great Nephew in 2015 when he was just 4 months old, he's now 5, my question is how do i get my ex husband removed from the guardianship? he has shown no real interest for my nephew and has absolutely no interest in him now, i get no financial support from him either.
Dinkydee - 23-Sep-20 @ 11:01 AM
Hi my wife has an sgo on 4siblings non blood related they are previously lac,since getting married they have reassessed my wife’s finances and have taken half the allowance from her and taken my wage pound for pence,I believe they cannot make me financially responsible for these children as I did not sign any sgo ,could you advise me whether this is correct as now we are financially struggling thanks in advance
Nik - 20-Sep-20 @ 11:26 AM
Hi my name is tracy hardy I have a sgo on my three girls they are with my sister who won't let me speak to them ur see them it's been 6 years now what can I do for me see my children please
Tray - 19-Aug-20 @ 12:40 AM
Guardianship order for my grandson who is 17 and wants to go back to his mother. It is his wish and I any happy for this to happen. Is this legal
Boxie - 3-Aug-19 @ 7:03 PM
Have 16 yr old grandaughter on special guardian order,see,s mum regularly,now wants to go back and live with mum,I am justifyally not wanting this to happen, where do I stand with this.grandaughter thinks now she is 16 that she can do as she likes,as that is the law Itold her this is not the case.
Nanny - 5-Jun-19 @ 5:30 PM
my wife is an international student in UK. I want to show dependents living cost from my bank account from Bangladesh, my home country, UKVI wants a legal guardian to do that. so can I be her guardian and show my bank account for living cost?
sohel - 25-May-19 @ 2:21 AM
me and my husband have had 2 of our grandchildren for 3 years age 5 and 9 lastfeb 2018 we where given a sgs un till the children are 18 we have had 5 social workers to gardians sees not my daugther the kds mother i complayed to level two about locai athoroty she see the kds 2 hours a month supavised by a social workers her and her family are making teroble allagasions all the time every week and all have been found to be untrue im so stressed dont no what to do its been like this for 3 years she is a druggiedrinks all the time and im now getting horrible messages of her family non of her family can supaviser her with the kids iv been attacked by her at sure start on ctvwhat can i do can take any more the kids are great good kids bright now they go to school very settled loved very much poor kids with a mother like her what do i do
gaffa - 24-Jan-19 @ 6:42 AM
Hello my names Chris I feel I maybe under a guardianship Ialthough I feel a lot if it is nonsense I want to find out what is going in regards to falsifications against I've alreadynoted my clinical files not one word of truthwell mostly and my doctors what's going on there thing I had wrong with me for years gone ?, no record of them my criminal records I already noted something ain't right I move got convictions against my name I've never done,?, and as for all the mickey mouse Court cases contradictoions galore I want to submit requests but don't know know how to please advise I feel I'm under a false care order here
Dagooroo - 15-Nov-18 @ 1:18 PM
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?
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?
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.
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
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.
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?
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.