Access rights for grandparents to their grandchildren is a complicated scenario, but not impossible. If you’re a grandparent faced with alienation from your grandchild(ren), there are steps you can take that will allow you to see them. Here are some of the facts on grandparents’ rights and access to grandchildren…
Grandparents’ rights UK
A divorce not only impacts a married couple and the immediate family, it can affect the wider family too and none more so than grandparents. If a parent decides that they don’t want their ex-spouse’s parents to see their grandchildren it can create a really toxic situation.
Unfortunately, under current UK laws, grandparents have no automatic rights that allow them to see their grandchildren if a parent(s) deny them access.
However, family courts do take into account the vital role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren, which is why it is very rare that the courts would prevent grandparents from seeing their grandchild(ren), unless there’s evidence of abuse or violence.
What can grandparents do to access their grandchild(ren)?
UK family law only allows those with parental responsibility for a child(ren), such as parents, step-parents or guardians, to file a Child Arrangements application for a Contact Order for the right to see their child(ren).
Grandparents’ rights differ in that they first have to ask for permission from the family courts to apply for a Contact Order, in which case the courts will consider the following:
- The reasoning behind an application for contact
- A grandparent’s connection with the child(ren)
- The risk of harm to a child(ren) as a result of a Contact Order application
Should the family courts grant grandparents permission to file a Child Arrangements application for a Contact Order, they can do so through the courts, potentially enabling them to gain the right to see their grandchild(ren).
However, grandparents’ rights are limited. If one, or both parents contest the Contact Order made by grandparents, it’s likely that a full hearing will take place allowing both parties to present evidence.
How Holland Family Law can help
Because grandparents’ rights in the UK are extremely limited, if a case requires a full hearing, it’s crucial that grandparents have access to quality legal advice.
If you’re a grandparent faced with alienation from your grandchild(ren) and you need legal advice, that’s where Holland Family Law comes in. We are a Leicester family law firm covering the whole of the East Midlands.
We can help you with applying to the courts for permission to file an application for a Child Arrangements Contact Order and our team of Leicester family lawyers can provide you with the specialist legal advice you need to help persuade the courts why the role you play in your grandchildren’s lives is invaluable.
However, where possible, we will always encourage parties to try and resolve access rights outside of the courts. We appreciate that this isn’t always conceivable, in which case we would work with grandparents to pursue the right to see their grandchildren as amicably as possible to ensure the most satisfactory outcome.
It’s worth noting that the courts will always be sympathetic towards grandparents, provided that you have a close bond with your grandchild(ren), so pursuing access rights – with the correct legal advice – is always worthwhile.