Legal guardianship is appointed by someone with parental responsibility for a child, or the child’s father. The idea behind appointing a guardian is for a child to have a caregiver in case their current caregiver or parents are unable to care for them. Guardianship can be appointed by “deed of appointment” or in a will. It can also be appointed by a court if the need arises.

If you appoint a guardian but do not use any of these methods, it will not be effective. A formal guardianship deed is the most common method. A deed must be signed, dated and follow established statutory guidelines. The same happens with a prior appointment by will. It must be signed by the guardian according to the Wills Act of 1837. Thus, the guardianship will only take place after the death of the parent or guardian, unless they become unable to care for the children on their own due to to physical or mental disabilities.

Once someone has full guardianship, they will also have full parental responsibility, as if they were the father of the child. This means that they will have a lot to say in the main decisions related to the child, and many decisions, such as where they will live or what religion they will follow will depend on them.

Special guardianship

Special guardianship can only be appointed by a court. It will only be appointed if it is considered that the appointment of a guardian will enhance the well-being of the child by having security and when adoption is not applicable. The courts will create a special guardianship order in this situation. This order will not affect the parental responsibility of the parents but the special guardian may execute his parental responsibility without interference from the parents, as is the case of any person who has parental responsibility.

A common example of special guardianship is when grandparents permanently care for a child. Guardianship will be granted to them so that they can fully care for the child and enhance the well-being of the child as much as possible.

Who has parental responsibility?

You have the responsibility if you are the child’s mother or married to the child’s mother. It is not necessary to be married at the time of birth. Otherwise, you must obtain parental responsibility through a parental responsibility order. This is also appointed by a court, but will take many factors into account before approving an application.

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