The family courts recognise the invaluable role that grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives. If you are having problems in seeing your grandchildren, this can be very distressing. Our experienced family solicitors can help you understand what legal rights you have and how you can take steps to see your grandchildren.
Do grandparents have legal rights to see their grandchildren?
Whilst there is a presumption that a child should spend time with a parent unless there are reasons to the contrary this same presumption does not apply to grandparents. The courts do however recognise the importance of children having a relationship with extended family members.
As a first step, we would advise that you consider mediation to try and reach an agreement outside of court. Mediation is where an independent mediator will speak to you and other parties involved and try to come to a mutual arrangement where both parties are content.
Mediation is usually the best way to resolve these issues as court proceedings can be costly and quite stressful. Our family team will strive to support you throughout the process and advise you on the right decisions for you and your family.
Permission from the courts
Where mediation is unsuccessful, an application may be made to the Family Court for a Child Arrangements Order.
A Child Arrangements Order is an order that regulates the arrangements for a child.
Generally, grandparents do not have an automatic entitlement to apply for a Child Arrangements Order and they must obtain permission from the court before they can apply.
When considering an application for permission the court will consider the following:
- The nature of the proposed application;
- The Applicants connection with the child;
- Any risk that there might be of the proposed application disrupting the child’s life to such an extent that they would be harmed by it;
- Where the child is being looked after by a local authority what the authority’s plans for the child’s future care and the wishes and feelings of the parents;
If permission is granted you will be able to proceed with your application for a Child Arrangements Order
As for all court applications concerning children, the welfare of the child is of paramount importance.