Who can make decisions about the child

The important decisions about how a child is raised (such as medical treatment, going on a school trip, going abroad etc.) can only made by someone who has Parental Responsibility for a child.

Child Arrangements /Residence Orders that say where the child should live and Special Guardianship Orders give you Parental Responsibility for the child (i.e. the right to make decisions). They do not take Parental Responsibility away from anyone who has it already (usually the child’s parents).

When making decisions about a child, you should try to reach agreement between all the people who hold parental responsibility. But, where there is no agreement, there are some important differences between a Child Arrangements/Residence Order and a Special Guardianship Order in terms of the decisions you can take.

If you have a Special Guardianship Order, the law allows you to take decisions for the child without the agreement of others who have Parental Responsibility, except for:

  • You cannot change the child’s surname and
  • You cannot or take him/her outside the UK for a period of more than three months

without the written consent of everyone with parental responsibility or the permission of the court.

Also, no other person may take him/her outside the UK for any period without either the written consent of every person who has parental responsibility for the child or the permission of the court.

If you have a Child Arrangements/ Residence Order, you can make decisions for your child but if others with parental responsibility disagree, they may seek to challenge your decision, and you may have to get the court to decide. But if you want to take the child out of the country for more than 28 days, you need the agreement of everybody with parental responsibility first.



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