Q. I have been a Special Guardian for my niece, who is 10, since 2012. This was a process that went through the Courts and at the time I had a Solicitor to represent me. The problem is that I don’t actually recall much of the information given to me back then. Now I feel I need some guidance as to what a Special Guardianship Order allows me to do, but I am struggling to find time to see a Solicitor. Can I go to someone else for some help?
A: A special guardianship order is an order that continues until a child reaches the age of 18, unless it comes to an end sooner. This order gives Parental Responsibility of a child to the appointed guardian, who will then be able to make day to day decisions about the child as well important decisions relating to issues such as medical treatment and education.
Whilst the order is in place the Guardian shares parental responsibility with the parents and in some instances the Guardian’s decisions can take precedence. With regard to your niece this means you can make decisions about her even if her parents don’t agree with you.
There are certain decisions however that cannot be made without the agreement or consent of all those with parental responsibility. These decisions include being able to change the child’s name and moving the child abroad for a period of 3 months or more.
The area of Special Guardianship is extremely complex. If you have any concerns as to the legality of any decisions you are to make, you really should make time to arrange an appointment with a specialist Solicitor to discuss them.