Adoption and Special Guardianship
Special Guardianship and Adoption are permanent options available for adults, who are not parents to the child.
Special Guardianship was introduced by the Government as need was identified for a permanent alternative legal status to adoption, mainly for older children, who did not want to sever the ties they had to their birth families.
To apply for a Special Guardianship order you will need to be aged 18 or over and not be a parent to the child.
Before an application for a Special Guardianship order is made notice must be given, in writing, to the Local Authority the child in resident in.
Upon receipt of this notice the Local Authority must investigate the matter and prepare a report for the court dealing with the suitability of the applicant to be a special guardian and any other matters the Local Authority considers relevant.
The court will not be able to make a Special Guardianship order until the report has been completed and received by the Court.
If the court decides to make a Special Guardianship order they can also decide whether to make a contact order for the birth parents and whether the child should be known by a new surname.
The Special Guardian will automatically have parental responsibility for the child, upon the making of the order, and this can be exercised to the exclusion of any other parents with parental responsibility.
When an adult is considering adopting a child it is important to know that adoption orders can only be reversed in very rare circumstances, and if an adoption order is granted this is will be a permanent legal status and the child will become a child of your family, usually taking your surname.
You can adopt if you are over 21 and ready to face the challenge of caring for a child. You will need to be approved as an adopter by an adoption agency and you will go through various checks to be approved. After you are approved to adopt you will be matched with a child, this match will be presented to an adoption panel and if it is recommended the child can be placed with you.
To apply to the court for an adoption order the child will need to be placed with you for a minimum amount of time beforehand time. The birth parents will be involved in this legal process, however, they do not need to consent to the adoption.
We will carefully explain the legal principles, the ways to limits costs and what we believe the best resolution for you is to any dispute. We aim to keep our advice simple, practical and cost effective.
Please call us for initial free legal advice on our 24 hour Advice Line 0800 526368
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