Grandparents Rights

When relationships break down it is often grandparents who draw the short straw. Our expert solicitors can help grandparents with custody agreements.

More about Grandparents Rights

Grandparents often play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, and it can be devastating to be prevented from seeing them. If you are in this situation, Forbes Solicitors' grandparents rights lawyers can provide advice on your legal rights and options. Our experienced grandparents rights solicitors can help you to pursue contact with your grandchildren and take the necessary steps to protect their welfare.

What are Family Law Grandparents Rights?

What are Family Law Grandparents Rights?

Grandparent's rights within family law refer to the rights of grandparents to have contact with their grandchildren, particularly in cases where the parents are separated or divorced. In the UK, grandparents do not have automatic rights to see their grandchildren, but can make an application to the court for a Child Arrangement Order if they are concerned about their relationship with their grandchildren.

When relationships break down, it is often grandparents who draw the short straw when it comes to child arrangements, which can be distressing for both grandparents and grandchildren.

Contrary to popular belief, grandparents do not have the automatic right to have contact with their grandchild - however, the Courts do recognise that grandparents have an impactful and valuable role to play in the upbringing of children. So, provided that there is no evidence of abuse or violence, the Courts will usually give grandparents an order for contact with their grandchildren.

Contact orders for grandparents

Contact orders for grandparents

Because only people with parental responsibility for the child in question can apply for a Contact Order, (i.e. parents, guardians or step-parents) grandparents must apply for permission to get a Contact Order. The Court will then consider the application on the grounds of:

  • The nature of the application

  • The applicant's connection with the child

  • What effect contact will have on the child, and whether or not it will be harmful

  • If your application is successful, you will then be able to apply for a Contact Order through the court which, if successful, will allow you contact with your grandchildren. When reviewing your application for a Contact Order, the Court will consider: The child's current circumstances, and whether contact will affect these

  • Whether contact will have a negative effect on family relationships

  • Whether contact will be beneficial to the child's wellbeing.

At Forbes, we understand how distressing the breakdown of a relationship can be and believe that the child's best interests are the most important thing to secure. Our team of expert solicitors are here to help.

Grandparents Rights FAQs

What is the process for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren?

Grandparents can apply for a Child Arrangements Order to obtain access to their grandchildren. This involves going to court and proving that it is in the best interests of the child to have contact with their grandparents. The court will consider various factors, including the relationship between the grandparent and the child, the wishes of the child, and any potential risks to the child's welfare.

Can grandparents apply for a court order to see their grandchildren?

Yes, grandparents can apply for a court order to see their grandchildren under the Children Act 1989. However, they must first seek permission from the court to make the application. The court will consider the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration when making a decision. Grandparents may also be able to apply for a child arrangements order to have regular contact with their grandchildren.

What factors do courts consider when deciding on grandparents' rights?

Courts consider the welfare of the child as the paramount consideration when deciding on grandparents' rights. They also consider the nature of the relationship between the child and the grandparents, the grandparents' motivation for seeking contact, and the impact of any contact on the child's relationship with their parents. The court will also consider any risk of harm to the child, including emotional harm.

Can grandparents be denied access to their grandchildren?

Grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to see their grandchildren. However, they can apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order to gain access. The court will consider the best interests of the child and may deny access if it is deemed harmful to the child's welfare.

What should grandparents do if they are being denied spending time with their grandchildren?

If grandparents are being denied spending time with their grandchildren, they can apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. This order can grant them the right to spend time with their grandchildren. However, before applying to the court, grandparents should try to resolve the issue through mediation or negotiation. The court will consider the best interests of the child when making a decision.

Can grandparents apply for financial support for their grandchildren?

Yes, grandparents can apply for financial support for their grandchildren in certain circumstances. This includes if they have taken on the role of the child's primary carer or if the child is living with them due to parental separation, they have a special guardianship order or other issues. Grandparents may be eligible for financial support such as child benefit, tax credits, and other forms of financial assistance. The eligibility and amount of support will depend on individual circumstances and UK law.

What is the role of grandparents in child protection cases?

Grandparents may have a role in child protection cases if they are deemed suitable and willing to care for the child. They may be considered as potential kinship carers and may be assessed by social services to determine their suitability. However, the ultimate decision on the child's placement will be made by the court based on the child's best interests. Grandparents may also provide support and information to social services and the court during the case.

How can grandparents support their grandchildren during a divorce or separation?

Grandparents can support their grandchildren during a divorce or separation by providing emotional support, listening to their concerns, and offering a safe and stable environment. They can also help with practical tasks such as childcare, transportation, and household chores. grandparents do not have automatic legal rights to see their grandchildren, but they can apply for a court order if necessary.

Our dedicated Family/Divorce team

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Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Rubina Vohra

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Partner and Head of Department, Family/Divorce

Helen Shirbon

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Partner, Family/Divorce

Gill Carr

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