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Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, and special guardians! All biological mothers automatically have parental responsibility for their children.

Parental responsibility is a wide range of responsibilities for a child. This was a new concept introduced by the Children Act 1989 with a shift from the idea of rights over the child to responsibilities for the child.

If a father is not on the birth certificate or married to the child’s mother, there are routes in which they can obtain parental responsibility for their child.

Obtaining parental responsibility for grandparents

Mothers and fathers are not the only people who can have parental responsibility, Grandparents can also obtain this. Grandparents can play a very important part in their grandchildren’s lives: sometimes, following family breakdown or a change in circumstances, it might become necessary for a formal arrangement to be put in place.

If children are unable to stay with their parents, then grandparents may be able to acquire parental responsibility through a Special Guardianship Order. This provides the grandparents with a more permanent status than other child arrangement orders and provides them with all the necessary responsibilities in order to provide the best care for their grandchildren.

Special Guardianship Orders

A Special Guardianship Order does not go so far as adoption, in that it does not sever the child’s legal relationship with their parents. However, a grandparent with a Special Guardianship Order is able to exercise their parental responsibility without the consent of anyone else (apart from another Special Guardian).

Special Guardianship Orders are not exclusively for grandparents and there are many other circumstances in which a Special Guardianship order may be considered by the court to be in the child’s best interest.

If you would like more information about Special Guardianship Orders or any of the other issues raised in this article, please contact us on 0117 904 6000 and ask to speak to the Family team.