Grandparents’ Rights To Access To Children
While grandparents do not have automatic rights, there may be opportunities to open up negotiations in order to see their grandchildren, advises Rubina Vohra of Forbes Solicitors
It’s heartbreaking when a relationship breaks down and the heartbreak can span beyond the couple themselves. Where children are involved, there are often grandparents. When a couple have separated, unless there is an amicable arrangement in place, often extended members of the family, including grandparents, can find themselves very much on the outside of the grandchildren’s lives.
Grandparents may believe that they have no rights, but this is, in fact, incorrect. It is usual for a parent to have arrangements for seeing children and within that time, they can spend time with the extended family. Where either time is restricted or objections are made, a grandparent can do something for themselves. It is important for children to maintain a link with either their paternal or maternal family and the court system does consider that.
As with all breakdowns, taking legal advice is best. Whilst grandparents do not have an automatic right, opportunities to open up negotiations by letter or attempting family mediation are both options that are available for grandparents too. If neither of those options is successful, then an application can be made to the court. A grandparent does not have an automatic right to make an application, however permission can be sought. The court will carefully consider the connection to the child or children and based upon that, will decide whether the application can progress. Once that hurdle has been overcome, the application is a Child Arrangements Order application and will be dealt with by attempting to identify the issues and, where necessary, considering if there are welfare issues that need to be investigated.
The initial application is made on a C100 application form, together with a supporting C2 form seeking permission to make the application. Once an order is in place, the order will have to be complied with. If you are experiencing difficulties with access and contact to your own grandchildren, we can provide you with advice and support to assist you with any contact arrangements.
For more information contact Rubina Vohra, Head of Forbes’ Family/Divorce Department at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on: 01254 580 000