A Family Law Case Study – Client Situation
Mr and Mrs J contacted our Family and Child Law Solicitors about their niece and two nephews. Sadly, their mother had a terminal illness. Mr and Mrs J looked after both children when the mother became very ill. Before she died, she asked Mr and Mrs J to look after the children as their father had very limited contact for the last few years.
When she passed away, the children’s father issued an application for interim contact and for the children to live with him. Around the same time, Mr and Mrs J went to the Local Authority to inform them of their intention to apply for a Special Guardianship Order and for Parental Responsibility. They were concerned about the father's ability to care for the children.
How We Helped
Because Mr and Mrs J did not have Parental Responsibility for the children, they could not just make an application. They had to get permission from the Court.
Our Family and Child Law Solicitors filed an application with the Court for permission to make an application in addition to filing an application for a Special Guardianship Order and Parental Responsibility for the children.
A Court Hearing date was set and the Judge asked the Local Authority to produce a report on Mr and Mrs J and also on the children’s father. This report would look at their suitability to look after the children and assess what was in the best interests of the children. In the meantime, the children were to live with Mr and Mrs J and have contact with their father.
At this point, our Family and Child Law Solicitors felt there was a very good chance that the Special Guardianship Order and Parental Responsibility would be granted.
A Contested Final Hearing was then listed to determine who the children should live with.
Mr and Mrs J were granted a Special Guardianship Order and Parental Responsibility and their niece and nephew could continue to live with them as per their late mother’s wishes.
A Special Guardianship Order is a Court Order to appoint someone other than the birth parents to be that child’s ‘special guardian’. It gives the child a legally secure placement.
Having Parental Responsibility means you have to provide a home for the child, protect and look after them. This includes deciding where they go to school, their medical treatment and disciplining them too.
You can see why both a Special Guardianship Order and Parental Responsibility were really important to Mr and Mrs J and their niece and nephew. It allowed them to take legal responsibility in all aspects of their lives.
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