Special Guardianship Orders.

Special Guardianship Order Solicitors: Legal Advice for SGO Order Application & Revocation.

There are times when it is best for a child to live with someone other than their parents.

If this is the case, a Special Guardianship Order will be made by the court.

This process can be emotional and complex, and it is essential that you take professional legal advice from practised family law solicitors who are experienced in this area and can skilfully represent you with the best interest of the child at heart.

If you or a member of your family need advice or information about Special Guardianship Orders, contact the family law experts at Lanyon Bowdler, who will offer the guidance you need.

Our Special Guardianship Orders Expertise

The team of exceptional family lawyers at Lanyon Bowdler are recognised as experts in their field and includes members of the Law Society Family Panel and accredited specialists of Resolution, a national organisation of family solicitors. Contact us today.

Why we care

As family and child law specialists with families of our own, we understand the complex dynamics that can exist within many households and appreciate that no two families are the same.

The one thing we all have in common, however, is how important our loved ones are to us and, when it comes to children in particular, we only want the best for them.

That is why, whether you are seeking to apply for a Special Guardianship Order or are looking to have one removed, our experienced Guardianship Solicitors are here to offer the legal advice and support you will need.

What we do

Lanyon Bowdler is listed in the 2024 edition of The Legal 500, an independent, national guide of recommended law firms in the UK and is also recognised by Chambers UK in their 2024 rankings of leading solicitors. It is a source of pride for us that we come so highly recommended by the industry but it is the feedback from clients, who go on to recommend us to others, that means so much.

We are renowned for our exceptional customer service and really take the time to get to know each of our clients so that we can offer a fully bespoke service, tailored to the specific circumstances of everyone we represent.

We are thorough and meticulous in our planning with a keen eye for detail, which places our clients at an advantage during any court proceedings. We will carefully prepare all your paperwork including supporting evidence for assessments carried out by the court, and will provide you with expert representation throughout.

We can also provide you with assistance during any assessments carried out by the local authority for any financial or practical support you may need, and can help with gathering all the relevant documentation.

Your Special Guardianship Orders questions answered

What is a special guardianship order?

If the family court believes it is in the best interests of a child, then they will arrange for them to live with someone other than their parents by issuing a Special Guardianship Order.

The person named in the order will become the child’s Special Guardian and will be responsible for looking after the child, making the day to day decisions, and meeting their needs.

Although the Special Guardian will be granted parental responsibility, this will not be removed from the child’s parents. However, the Special Guardianship Order is an enhanced parental responsibility that overrides normal parental responsibility and gives the Special Guardian the overall right to make decisions for the child.

Who can apply for special guardianship?

If you are over the age of 18, you can apply for a Special Guardianship Order if:

  • You are related to the child and they have either lived with you for at least one year immediately prior to the application, or the court has granted permission for you to apply for the order.
  • The child has been in your foster care for at least a year immediately preceding the application.
  • The child has lived with you for at least three of the previous five years.
  • You have permission from the local authority if the child is in their care.
  • You have permission from the court.

Joint applications can also be made for special guardianship and there is no requirement for those applying to be married.

How do I apply to be a special guardian?

Anyone wishing to apply for a Special Guardianship Order must inform the local authority of their intention three months ahead of submission. They must then make an application to the family court.

The Children’s Services department will then contact you to assess your suitability and will prepare a report for the court outlining their recommendations.

What support is available for special guardians?

If the child concerned is in local authority care when the Special Guardianship Order is granted, an assessment will automatically be carried out to determine if financial or practical support is required. If the child is not a looked after child, an assessment for support can still be requested by the special guardians or the child themselves for:

  • Financial assistance
  • Counselling and emotional support
  • Respite care
  • Access to support groups

Training and advice to help the Special Guardian meet the needs of the child

Eligibility for financial support is means tested but financial assistance to cover out of pocket expenses is available to all. Such expenses might include facilitating contact visits with the child’s family or to cover childcare so that the Special Guardian can have a break.

Access to other support will be determined by considering the needs of both the Special Guardian and the child.

My child is subject to a Special Guardianship Order. Can I have it removed?

Although a Special Guardianship Order is usually in place until a child is 18, if there has been a significant change in circumstances the order can be changed in one of two ways:

  • The terms of the order can be altered
  • The order can be removed completely and the child returned to their parents

Anyone wishing to end a Special Guardianship Order must apply to the court, where the evidence will then be examined to determine if the change in circumstances is significant enough to vary  the original order. The court will also take into consideration the likely impact of their decision on the child and how disruptive another change in living arrangements would be for them.

What are the alternatives to a Special Guardianship Order?

In the situation where a child is considered to be at risk from harm if they remain in the family home, there are several alternatives to a Special Guardianship Order:

Foster Care

Unlike a Special Guardian, a foster carer does not have parental responsibility for a child and so is unable to make key decisions about the child’s care and upbringing. Even if the placement is long-term, foster care does not always afford the child the sense of security and belonging that can be gained through a Special Guardianship Order.

Child Arrangement Order

A Child Arrangement Order is granted by the court, detailing where the child should live in the interests of their safety and well-being. The person into whose care they are charged will also have parental responsibility for the child, along with the child’s parents.

Adoption

Adoption severs all connection between the child and their birth parents, placing them permanently with another family. Birth parents lose all parental responsibility once the court order has been issued and links with the wider biological family are also lost in the majority of cases.

How much do SGO orders cost?

The price of our legal service is understandably one of the first questions we are asked.

Clients want to know where they stand and what they can expect to pay. We are completely clear and transparent about our fees as well as any additional costs that could be incurred throughout the legal proceedings.

We don’t believe cost should be a barrier to exceptional legal service however and so we offer a number of different pricing plans so that clients can choose the one that best suits their financial situation.

From fixed fees and pay as you go arrangements to traditional hourly charges, we will work with you to find the best payment option for your budget and we also offer service level guarantees so that you can be confident in the legal provision you will receive from Lanyon Bowdler.

For more information about our fees and the various payment options we offer don’t hesitate to contact us today for a no-obligation conversation with one of our legal team.

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What our clients say.

I would not hesitate to recommend LB Solicitors to anyone needing guidance and representation for family law or divorce proceedings. My solicitor was thorough and diligent, balancing professional rigour with fairness, reasonableness and sensitivity. I feel this approach helped me to obtain a satisfactory settlement avoiding costly and unnecessary conflict.

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Since dealing with Lanyon Bowdler they have been diligent, efficient and at all times very helpful along with being structured in dealing with matters, fees and clarity on all levels. Thank you.

Michael
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I was clearly informed of progress step by step. The service you provided was very good.

Peter Weston
Shrewsbury

All work carried out effectively and efficiently.

Hubert Jones
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An excellent service with solicitors that you can talk to and who give you a clear understanding of all necessary legal implications and interpretations.

Eric
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From start to finish we had excellent service. Friendly, approachable and professional.

Carl Gittins
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Used Lanyon Bowdler for conveyancing and for legal advice – both solicitors I worked with were effective and professional. Law firm was fast and responsive to queries and clear pricing.

Samantha
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Very clear, concise advice and guidance, easy to understand.

Ian Jamieson
Telford

Good service provided throughout with clear communication throughout with all options explored.

Lee

I was impressed with the forensic approach to identifying, securing, assessing and presenting evidence over the two years that it took to finally resolve the issue.

Timothy
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I can thoroughly recommend the highly professional and supportive service received over the last few months.

Heather
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Responsive, supportive, approachable, clear and empathetic.

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Professional and prompt communication. Supportive and client focused.

Lisa Thacker
Jennifer M Whittall Ltd

Whenever I have had need to contact Lanyon Bowdler I have always received a fast, concise and friendly response.

Lee Mortimer
UK Case Management

Definitely would use Lanyon Bowdler again if I need the use of a solicitor.

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Smooth and efficient service from very professional firm.

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We were particularly impressed with the quality of work, the speed and excellent communication.

Allenby Douglas Ltd
Oswestry

Very friendly and approachable. Very good advice

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Great Service; Lanyon Bowdler were excellent from the outset. Straightforward and easy process. I just sat back and waited.

Paul Rowe
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Everything has been professional, efficient and courteous throughout and we are very pleased, both with the service and with the eventual outcome of our case. Everything was first class and exceeded our expectations. Thank you again for providing such splendid service. It is really appreciated.

Mr N J & Dr S J Browne
Llanfyllin

Contact Lanyon Bowdler’s Special Guardianship Order Solicitors

For legal advice from our highly accomplished and practised family lawyers contact Lanyon Bowdler today.

With offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry and Telford we are easily reachable by road or rail. We regularly act on behalf of clients throughout Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and the Midlands, including Birmingham and Wolverhampton, but as a leading full-service law firm, we frequently represent clients throughout England and Wales.

If you want the best in family law advice and representation, providing the best chance of success, don’t hesitate to contact us today or complete the online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.

Our people

Meet the team.

Sue Hodgson
Sue Hodgson
Partner
Family Law
Jon Moriarty
Jon Moriarty
Partner
Family Law
Philippa Pearson
Philippa Pearson
Partner
Family Law
Georgia Rowney
Georgia Rowney
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Lizzie Cross
Lizzie Cross
Trainee Solicitor
Family
Mia Williams
Mia Williams
Trainee Solicitor
Family Law
Anne Lewis
Anne Lewis
Associate Legal Executive (FCILEX)
Family Law
Lisa Grimmett
Lisa Grimmett
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Caroline Yorke
Caroline Yorke
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Fiona Cooper
Fiona Cooper
Legal Assistant
Family Law
Rachel Tomley
Rachel Tomley
Solicitor
Family Law
Erin Payne
Erin Payne
Paralegal Apprentice
Family Law
Staci Robinson
Staci Robinson
Associate Solicitor
Family Law
Laura Jones
Laura Jones
Solicitor
Family Law
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