Grandparents’ rights to see their grandchildren.
Unfortunately, the law in England and Wales does not give grandparents an automatic right to see their grandchildren. Despite this, the courts do recognise that in most cases it is beneficial for children to have a relationship with their grandparents.
It is not unusual following a divorce or relationship breakdown for grandparents to find themselves in a position where they are unable to have contact with their grandchildren. In some cases this leads to the grandparents making an application to the court for an order granting them contact with their grandchildren.
How do I make an application to have contact with my grandchildren?
In order to make an application to have contact with grandchildren, grandparents first have to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting. If this proves ineffective they can seek the court’s permission to apply for contact. When deciding whether to grant permission to apply, the courts will consider: –
- The grandparent’s connection with the child;
- The nature of the application for contact; and
- Whether such an application would be potentially harmful to the child’s wellbeing in any way.
In order to address the above factors, the grandparents would need to file a supporting statement with the court setting out their position and the reasons for their application.
If leave is granted an application to the court can be made and all parties with parental responsibility are able to put forward their evidence, should they raise objections to contact.
Following this evidence, the court will decide whether to make an order. It must be noted that the court will only make an order in situations where it is considered better than making no order at all.
What can I do if an order is made but not acknowledged by the parents?
It is not uncommon for an order to be ignored by parents. If a court order is made but ignored you can go back to the court who will enforce the order and potentially ensure that there are consequences for the parties who have ignored the order.
How we can help with grandparents’ rights
Should you need legal guidance on grandparents’ rights and assistance in making an application to have contact with your grandchildren, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist family law team who are available to help guide you. Call us on freephone 0333 888 0404 for a free initial chat or send us an email to [email protected]