Child Arrangements

Grandparents Rights

Grandparent with grandchild

Grandparents Rights

Experiencing a family dispute or separation can be particularly distressing for grandparents who are suddenly unable to see their well-loved grandchildren. This situation is often painful for both the grandparents and the grandchildren. 

Grandparents may face challenges in maintaining a meaningful or regular relationship with their grandchildren following the parents’ separation or divorce. These difficulties often arise when a child lives predominantly with one parent, who may be reluctant to allow the grandparents of their former spouse or partner to maintain contact. 

Additionally, strained relationships between adult children and their own parents can also impact grandparent-grandchild interactions. When the relationship between adult children and their parents is poor, it can be challenging for grandparents to see their grandchildren regularly. 

Whatever the reason for being unable to see a grandchild, the best course of action for any grandparent is to seek legal advice. Our expert team can assist grandparents in maintaining or re-establishing a relationship with their grandchildren. 

Additionally, grandparents may find themselves in a situation where they are caring for their grandchildren due to the parents being unable to do so. It is essential to seek advice about this arrangement, understand its implications, and learn how it can be formalised through a court order. 

What rights do grandparents have?

You may wonder about grandparents’ rights and whether these rights can change your situation. 

Currently, grandparents do not have automatic legal rights to see their grandchildren. However, this does not mean they cannot seek contact through the courts if necessary. 

The only difference between a grandparent seeking a contact order and a parent seeking a contact order is that a grandparent can only apply for such an order if they first obtain the permission of the court to make the application (a parent can make an application without permission). 

The grandparent will therefore first request permission from the court, before proceeding with the application for a contact order. 

When considering such a request the court will have particular regard to the nature of the application, the grandparent’s connection with the child, and any risk there might be of the proposed application disrupting the child’s life to such an extent that they would be harmed by it. 

In practice, obtaining permission is usually little more than a formality. Permission is almost always granted, and the application for permission is typically made simultaneously with the contact application. Therefore, obtaining permission does not usually delay the contact process. 

Once permission has been obtained the contact application will continue, and the court will decide what, if any, contact the grandparents should have with the grandchildren. 

Securing contact with a grandchild

Obviously, the best way to secure contact with a grandchild is by agreement with the parents, or if the parents have separated, with the parent with whom the grandchild lives. 

If you are not able to reach agreement directly with the parent(s) then it may be possible to do so through solicitors, via mediation, collaborative law, or the Resolution Together service. 

If it is still not possible to reach an agreement, then you could consider arbitration as a way of resolving the matter without involving the court. 

For more information relating to mediation, collaborative law, resolution together and arbitration, see this page

If none of these options are possible, grandparents can apply to the court for a contact order, after first obtaining permission from the court. We can advise you on the court process and represent you throughout. 

The court will decide whether to issue a contact order based on what it considers to be in the best interests of the grandchild’s welfare. In particular, the court will consider factors such as the child’s ascertainable wishes (taking into account their age and understanding), the child’s needs, the grandparents’ capability to meet those needs, and any potential harm the child may suffer if contact occurs or does not occur.. 

In most cases the court will take the view that contact with their grandparents is likely to be good for the child’s welfare. It is therefore likely that a contact order will be made, although the amount of contact will again depend upon what the court considers best for the welfare of the grandchild.  

How We Can Help With Grandparents Rights

We recognise the importance of the role a grandparent plays in the life of a child. Sometimes a child will not get on so well with their parents, but they have a very important relationship with their grandparents. 

We will guide and advise you on the ways in which you can connect with your grandchildren. This is often by discussing the various methods of engaging one of the parents, as mentioned above. When this is not possible, we will sensitively guide you through the legal process if that becomes necessary. We will do this with the aim of securing an outcome in which you can establish regular contact with your grandchild(ren).  

Call our team today to schedule a consultation and find out more about grandparents’ rights and how you can progress your matter.  

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