If you are a grandparent who has been denied access to your grandchildren, you may be wondering what your rights are.
Unfortunately, grandparents do not have an automatic right to contact with their grandchildren. However, family courts do acknowledge the important role that grandparents have in their grandchildren’s lives, and they rarely deny grandparents visitation unless to do so would be a risk to the grandchild’s welfare.
At Heringtons we understand that the idea of Court proceedings involving your family can be worrying. Our team have worked with a wide range of clients facing complex situations and disagreements involving children.
When a relationship breaks down or there are other difficulties or disputes within the family, we can help you achieve a workable, practical arrangement focussed on the needs of the children.
We can offer legal support for grandparents in several ways, including:
- Alternative dispute resolution for grandparents’ legal rights
- Court Orders to gain contact with grandchildren
- Applying for legal guardianship of your grandchildren
Get in touch with our friendly, experienced family law solicitors.
Or fill in our online enquiry form, and we will be in touch shortly.
How we can help grandparents with child arrangements
Alternative dispute resolution
In certain situations, grandparents may encounter difficulties in gaining access to their grandchildren, for example, due to conflicts with the parents of their grandchild. This situation could arise from a divorce or other family-related challenges.
To address this issue, our team of family law solicitors offer alternative dispute resolution options, such as family mediation and collaborative law.
Mediation allows all parties involved to express their perspectives and work towards reaching an agreement with the guidance of an impartial mediator.
Collaborative law is an alternative method of dispute resolution commonly utilised in divorce cases. However, it can also be used to negotiate grandparents' rights.
In situations where families are unable to come to a mutual agreement, our solicitors specialising in grandparents' rights can provide assistance in applying for a Contact Order or Child Arrangement Order. Both options aim to help grandparents secure the right to maintain contact with their grandchildren.
We acknowledge that taking these matters to court can be a daunting process. However, our highly skilled solicitors have extensive expertise in this field and will ensure that you receive the necessary support. During challenging circumstances like these, you can trust our team to provide sincere guidance and robust assistance.
Applying for legal guardianship
If a child's parents are unable to fulfil their caregiving responsibilities, grandparents retain the right to seek a Special Guardianship Order, which allows for the transfer of parental rights.
Our solicitors are available to assist grandparents in obtaining a Special Guardianship Order.
Typically, seeking legal guardianship is only necessary during challenging circumstances, and we understand that clients are likely experiencing emotional turmoil. Our solicitors handle each case with sensitivity, addressing your concerns at every step of the process.
Frequently asked questions about grandparents’ legal rights
What rights do grandparents have in the UK?
In the UK, grandparents do not have automatic legal rights regarding their grandchildren.
However, the law does recognise the important role that grandparents can play in their grandchildren's lives, and under certain circumstances, they may be able to seek legal arrangements to maintain contact with their grandchildren.
Here are some key points to consider:
- Parental Consent: As a general principle, parental consent is required for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren. If parents are willing to allow contact, grandparents can establish informal arrangements directly with them.
- Mediation: If disagreements arise between grandparents and parents regarding contact arrangements, it is recommended to try mediation first.
- Court Applications: In situations where mediation fails or there are significant barriers to contact, grandparents can apply to the court for permission to have contact with their grandchildren.
- Legal Standing: While grandparents do not have automatic rights, they can make applications for court orders, such as Child Arrangements Orders, which determine with whom a child should live or spend time. However, they must demonstrate to the court that they have a meaningful and ongoing relationship with their grandchild and that it is in the child's best interests to maintain such contact.
Do I have legal rights to see my grandchild?
In the UK, grandparents do not have automatic legal rights regarding access to their grandchildren.
However, under certain circumstances, they can seek permission from the court to apply for contact or visitation rights.
The court's primary consideration is the best interests of the child, and they will assess various factors, including the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the reasons for the denial of access, and the potential impact on the child's well-being.
It is important to note that while grandparents can make an application to the court, the granting of contact or visitation rights is not guaranteed and depends on the specific circumstances of each case.
Can a parent stop grandparents from seeing their grandchildren in the UK?
In the United Kingdom, a parent generally has the right to make decisions about who their child has contact with, including grandparents.
This means that a parent can choose to limit or even stop grandparents from seeing their grandchildren, unless the court determines that such contact is in the child's best interests.
However, it's important to note that the law recognises the valuable role that grandparents can play in a child's life, and there are legal avenues available for grandparents to seek contact with their grandchildren if they are being denied access.
Grandparents can apply to the court for permission to have contact with their grandchildren by making an application for a Child Arrangements Order.
When considering such applications, the court's primary consideration is the welfare and best interests of the child.
The court will consider various factors, including the existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the reasons for the denial of access by the parent, and the impact on the child's well-being.
The court will weigh all relevant factors to determine whether it is in the child's best interests to maintain contact with their grandparents. Ultimately, the court's decision will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.
It is important to consult with a solicitor who specialises in family law in the UK to understand your rights as a grandparent and to navigate the legal process effectively.
Get in touch with our friendly, experienced family law solicitors
Or fill in our online enquiry form, and we will be in touch shortly.