As many as 40% of children lose contact with their grandparents following parental separation.
Grandparents often wrongly assume that they have ‘grandparents rights’ and have the legal right to see their grandchildren. This is not the case. Grandparents do not have an automatic right to have contact with their Grandchildren. The courts do however increasingly recognise the very important role grandparents have in a child’s life.
In any family dispute it is often better to try to resolve things by way of reaching a compromise or agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached then as a grandparent you could consider making a referral to mediation and ultimately making an application to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. Please see the relevant section of our website for more details.
Unlike a parent a grandparent needs to ask the courts permission (known as ‘leave’) before making any application unless one of the following applies:
i) The child has lived with the grandparent for 3 years preceding the application.
ii) All parents who have parental responsibility for the child consents to the application.
iii) You have an order saying your grandchild should live with you.
If neither of the above applies the will take the following into account in deciding whether to grant a grandparent permission to make the application:
i) The circumstances surrounding the application.
ii) The connection that the grandparents have with the child.
iii) Whether the order being applied for will disrupt the life too much.
The court has to be satisfied the application has merits and is beneficial to the child.