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Special Guardianship Order - Question

(72 Posts)
GrandadGarage Sun 16-Jan-22 12:18:34


Does anyone have any experience of this.

We have had one in place for our granddaughter for almost 4 years now and the estranged father has suddenly popped up through the courts for a Child Arrangement Order.

I’m going to get some legal advice but does anybody have any similar experience; I’d like to know if what he is requesting cannot be granted given we have the SGO in place


Skybubble Sun 16-Jan-22 12:59:02

Hello Grandadgarage,
I’m sorry I can’t help with your question but I didn’t want to scroll past without saying “well done for stepping up when your granddaughter needed you” and I hope you get the response from the court that you believe is in the best interest for your granddaughter. I am a kinship foster carer for my 5 grandchildren, they have lived with me for 5 years now so I know how difficult it can be whilst also very rewarding.

EllanVannin Sun 16-Jan-22 13:34:12

My D is fostering 6 of her 7 GC ( my GGC ) and has been fostering 3 of them for nearly 2 years now. D had thought of going onto the SGO but it seems that you don't get the same protection/ backing as fostering where the authorities have full charge of the child until its 18, so things are staying as they are.

Arrangements of any sort are on the say-so of the authority which take full responsibility should anything go amiss and they'll always support the family whereas with an SGO things are somewhat different as the same support is no longer there, along with the reduced finances.

I personally would remain as a foster carer if I were you GrandadGarage given the sudden emergence of the child's father especially.
It'll be up to the courts as to whether a CAO is put into place, which, for the time being, it's best to stay with fostering.

GrandadGarage Sun 16-Jan-22 14:56:31

Hey thanks for the messages very kind

@skybubble - 5 wow ! Kudos !

I’m hoping the court will consider the efforts we have made down the years and the fact that the father hasn’t tried for over two years.

@Ellan. Thanks for the info; we have an SGO which appears watertight; we’d never considered fostering tbh we wanted legal guardianship

Bibbity Sun 16-Jan-22 15:48:13

Without any safeguarding concerns it is likely he will be awarded contact. This is likely to start small with the idea to increase.

Do you know what he is requesting?

GrandadGarage Sun 16-Jan-22 18:11:40

How can he be Bibbity he’s not been in her life for 7 years; well he has for about 6 months of it ?

He has another child he’s going through the exact same process right now with another girl.

He’s a bully with a history of violence to both Mums albeit but no convictions; threatening behaviour towards us where we had to stop dealing with him and sent him solicitors letters due to the level abuse we were getting.

The only reason social services got involved with our family was because his Mums house where he lived got drug raided.

It’s a long story; I hope he gets nowhere near as he’s never consistent and never has the child’s interests at heart nor has he ever paid even a pound towards her upkeep; sadly part of that generation that like the idea of being a Dad until they realise how much effort is required

Hurrumph sorry to rant on lol !

silverlining48 Sun 16-Jan-22 18:48:58

I remember when you started this process grandadgarage and recall how difficult it was for you.
Make sure you get proper advice and yes the court should carefully consider the background history.

GrandadGarage Sun 16-Jan-22 18:54:09

Do you really thank you yes it was some journey but we got there in the end and it’s been calm and settled since; GDs Mum also sees her 3 times a week and has settled down a lot thankfully

And then this lol; God loves a trier…

Thank you for your message

silverlining48 Sun 16-Jan-22 19:00:55

I am so pleased it has been working out and I wish you all well.

GrandadGarage Sun 16-Jan-22 20:30:36

Thank you

Bibbity Sun 16-Jan-22 23:47:39

Because he is the father and unless he is a threat to the child's mental or physical health they see a relationship better than no relationship.

Contact can take many forms indirect, supervised etc

But it is unlikely that zero contact will be awarded. Many women have proof of domestic violence and still those men receive contact.

I would consider what your opening offer will be.

Skybubble Mon 17-Jan-22 08:17:43

Good morning grandadgarage,
Just a thought that if you do have to offer some form of contact then I would suggest supervised contact at your home, this may be an uncomfortable situation for yourself but that way your granddaughter will be safe and comfortable in her own surroundings and you will be able to monitor his behaviour. Also I’m wondering how your granddaughter feels about having contact with him? Her views should be taken into account by the court and if she doesn’t want contact then I’m pretty sure that no one will force it on her.

GrandadGarage Mon 17-Jan-22 10:36:35

Hiya, we can’t do that at ours due to previous history of threats of violence towards us including threats to kill

We’re getting an appointment with a solicitor; we are looking to reject the application on the basis in the 7 years he’s had no consistent contact; hasn’t seen her for almost 3 years and we don’t feel it is in GDs best interests as historically he cannot adhere to any structured visit plan.

He is also applying for an order for another child he has in the same position; he has no job, no money I’ve no idea how he would facilitate picking them up given we live miles away !

Iam64 Mon 17-Jan-22 12:06:10

Hi Grandadgarage, it’s good to see your SGO has been successful. Also positive that you are taking legal advice. If the SGO came with a support package the local authority should support you
Given you tried to facilitate contact with dad which failed because of his actions, the length of time since he saw her, the history of instability, threats, domestic violence (with two partners) I agree you’re right to say no direct contact. The best he can hope for IMO is at this stage, a section 7 report to help the Court understand where he’s been the last eight years, the domestic abuse, drugs etc abd update on your little ones circumstances
Yes Thr Children Act has a premise of contact but the welfare of the child is paramount
Let your solicitor take the lead

Skybubble Mon 17-Jan-22 12:33:48

He really does sound like a nasty piece of work and I totally understand why you couldn’t have him at your home. After reading your update I would be shocked if a court gave him access, he sounds dangerous. I hope this is resolved quite soon as it is a very stressful situation for you all.

trisher Mon 17-Jan-22 12:53:21

Hi GrandadGarage you sound an amazing grandad and very protective. I'm not sure how old your GD is but you should take into account that if she is old enough she may be asked to give her views and asked if she wants to see her father. If she says "yes" that will count.
Rather than completely refusing could you offer some form of contact using technology. Say a Zoom call once a month. That would mean you would be safe but be seen as cooperative. As he is so unreliable he's liable to fail to keep to the timetable and you would have excellent grounds for not having face to face contact. Good luck!!!

3nanny6 Mon 17-Jan-22 13:11:32

Hi GrandadGarage what a brilliant job you are doing with your grand-daughter. I have not much to say but given his previous treatment to you and threats of violence then you are right not to want him in your home.
If you are going to make any offer of contact I would offer supervised contact given in a contact center perhaps once a month. I would never offer him the chance to take the child out alone and also he basically does not know her so first of all that will need to be addressed.
Good Luck to you.

Iam64 Mon 17-Jan-22 13:39:14

If any contract needs to be suggested, the history suggests indirect to test commitment and ability to work cooperatively. That could be a simple card with a brief message - to be handed to a social worker / contact officer to ensure suitability. I would avoid social media and zoom -

The wishes and feelings of the child will be given age appropriate consideration. Decisions will be made in her best interest which presumes contact - but not in every situation

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 17-Jan-22 14:12:17

The court will most definitely listen to the child’s views if she is old enough to express them. The usual procedure is for the court to appoint an experienced social worker to see the child. In my experience they are very sensitive and good at gently ascertaining the child’s views and the court will follow their recommendations.

GrandadGarage Mon 17-Jan-22 16:53:43

Thank you all so much for taking the time to offer thoughts; GD is 6.

I’ve written notes for the posts you made; I’m very grateful to have your replies it’s very kind and helpful


Germanshepherdsmum Mon 17-Jan-22 17:00:29

GG it may comfort you to know that in my case the social worker advised against direct contact and the court followed that advice.

welbeck Mon 17-Jan-22 17:02:22

a contact centre would be the least worst option, if you are forced into it.
good luck.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 17-Jan-22 17:07:46

Just realised you might think I was the one refused contact! It was my ex, the father.

silverlining48 Tue 18-Jan-22 12:00:52

Hi again grandadgarage
Your granddaughter is only 6. If a Guardian ad Litem ( social worker representing the child) asks for her view she will have little or no memory of her father; there has been no recent contact; he would be a stranger. Given history I would be surprised if the father is granted contact and if he was then it would be remotely as Iam suggests, or supervised in a centre.
If your daughter sees your granddaughter regularly her opinion re contact ought to be considered too.
If he gets n touch keep a note of it with dates and times and anyone else who is present. Let school know the circumstances etc. Just to be sure.
You should have your own representation in court too. Try not to worry , easier said I know.

GrandadGarage Tue 18-Jan-22 12:50:39

Hi there. Thanks for your message;

She does have memories of him in all honesty and she does ask about him from time to time. We just tell her he loves her but he didn’t come when he should of years ago which made her cry at the time. We never badmouth him.

Mum feels the same as us in so far as historically we have made a lot of effort on their behalf to ensure Dad and GD saw each other; at one point we used to drive 7 miles each way to help them as he had no job and so on so I can look in the mirror after we stopped it and say we tried enough times not to feel guilty about calling a halt to it nearly 3 years ago. I can honestly say that despite all the despicable things he has said and done to us if I thought it was in best interests I would not contest it.