Rights of grandparents to see grandchildren after relationship breakdown
What rights do grandparents have?
Askews Legal LLP are specialist Divorce and Family Law Solicitors in Coventry, your one stop shop for any Family Law advice.
Currently, there is no automatic right for grandparents to have contact with their grandchildren in the event of a relationship breakdown. Sadly, this can sometimes result in grandparents being prevented from seeing their grandchildren and side-lined from birthdays and other milestones. Whilst family courts do recognise the important role of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren, only individuals with Parental Responsibility e.g. parents, guardians and step-parents can make an application for a Child Arrangements Order to formalise contact arrangements.
Going to Court
As grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order, you will first need to apply to the court for permission to make such an application. Of course, court proceedings are a last resort and should only be attempted if voluntary arrangements and mediation are unsuccessful.
Assuming that all else fails and court proceedings are necessary, there are several factors that the court will need to take into account when deciding whether to grant permission:-
- Your connection with the child;
- The nature of the application; and
- Whether the application might have a negative impact on the welfare of the child.
If the court grants permission, you can then apply for a Children Arrangements Order which will regularise how often and where you see your grandchildren. If your application is opposed by either or both of the parents, it is likely that a hearing (or hearings) will be required in which the parties will put forward evidence to support their position. In order to be successful on an application for contact with your grandchild, you will need to be able to evidence to the court that you have a meaningful relationship with your grandchildren and that it would beneficial to the child/ren for this to continue.
The rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren has recently (April 2018) been debated in Parliament and MPs are now backing an amendment to the Children Act specifically dealing with a child’s right to have a relationship with close members of their extended family. As well as grandparents, this will include aunts and uncles having access to their nieces and nephews.
It remains to be seen whether there will be a change in the law to enshrine the rights of grandparents to see their grandchildren.
Contact Askews Legal LLP now for specialist advice from one of our Family Solicitors in Coventry.
Askews Legal LLP – Solicitors Coventry.