There are different forms of guardianship under English law, namely:

  • Special guardianship
  • Guardianship appointment by Will
  • Guardianship by court appointment

Special guardianship

A special guardian acquires day to day care of a child and parental responsibility (but not legal parenthood).  A special guardian's parental responsibility supersedes (but does not extinguish) everyone else's parental responsibility for the child (e.g. birth parent).

A special guardianship order provides a secure legal relationship between the child and the special guardian, whilst maintaining the child's legal connection with his/her legal parents. It can help in situations where, for example, a birth mother cannot care for a child and a grandparent steps in to keep the child within the extended family.

Guardianship appointment by Will

You should appoint legal guardians in your Will to care for your child if you die. A guardianship appointment gives legal care of the child to the guardian as well as conferring parental responsibility upon the guardian.

How we can help you

We provide confidential and expert legal advice on:

  • Preparation of Wills appointing legal guardians for a child
  • An application to court for special guardianship
  • Management of a dispute about guardianship of a child

To find out more about our legal services click here.

Find out more about children and family law in the UK in our resource hub.

Gain an understanding of wider issues in the development of and current issues surrounding children and family law in the UK and internationally. Click here to visit our Media and Publications section. 

Arrange a meeting with Louisa Ghevaert, Partner and Head of the Fertility and Parenting Team at Michelmores: email or telephone +44(0)207 7886382.


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