The end of any relationship is difficult. Whether it’s a divorce, separation, or the end of a civil partnership, it’s always exacerbated when children are involved. And, it’s not just parents that are affected. We talk about Grandparents Rights UK below.
Grandparents’ rights are something that aren’t often considered. But it’s a key component of the family dynamic. And, there might be two sets of grandparents looking for access to their grandchildren.
This is often a secondary consideration when it comes to child arrangements – but it’s SO important to some families, and the answer might not be clear…
Grandparents Rights To Access – What Do You Need To Know?
Sadly, grandparents don’t have an automatic right to access to their grandchildren.
Family courts recognise the important role that grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives, and a grandparent would rarely be refused access, but the fact is that there is no automatic right to contact.
The reality is that only people with parental responsibility can apply for a contact order for access to a child.
Sadly, that doesn’t include grandparents – it’s limited to parents, step-parents, foster parents and guardians.
BUT grandparents can apply for permission to apply for a Contact Order, which will then depend on the following considerations:
- The applicant’s connection with the child
- The nature of the application
- Whether the application could in any way be harmful to the child’s wellbeing
If you’re successful in your application, then you’d be eligible to apply for a Contact Order through the court to gain access to your grandchildren.
However, if either parent was to raise an objection to this, then you’re probably going to need to attend a full court hearing.
It’d be wise at this stage to seek out expert legal advice to ensure that your case is as tight as it can be. You will need to convince the court that you’ve got a meaningful and ongoing relationship with your grandchildren.
How likely is it to win a grandparent’s access case in the UK?
The court will always consider the child’s circumstances when it comes to access with any individual.
They might weigh up whether your continuing contact with your grandchild might harm other relationships in the family. In this respect, grandparents are at a disadvantage compared to parents and those with parental responsibility.
However, it’s highly unlikely that the court would refuse access to a grandparent except in extreme cases. So, if you’re considering whether or not to proceed with a case to gain contact with a grandchild, then it’s worth seeking further advice.
It’s advisable to attempt to continue contact with your grandchildren if it’s at all possible. Communication with other family members, including the parents, would help the situation too.
We understand that the breakdown of a relationship is a tricky time, especially when there are children involved.
But you must express your relationship with your grandchildren to the child’s parents, as this could assist access without having to proceed with lengthy legal cases.
It might also be worth considering family mediation as an option to try to reach an amicable agreement on access.
Otherwise, it might be a case of applying for a Child Arrangements Order.
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