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How can a family lawyer help with Grandparents rights? 

If you’ve attempted to reach an informal agreement with the child’s parents through mediation and it’s unsuccessful, the next step is to consult a family lawyer. A family lawyer can help you seek permission to apply for a court order and navigate the process of obtaining a child arrangements order.

How can the court help with Grandparents’ rights in the UK? 

The first step is to apply for permission to proceed with an application for contact with grandchildren, before officially seeking an order from the court.

If permission to proceed is given you can make an application for a Child Arrangements Order that will set out what types of contact should take place between you and the children (e.g. video and telephone calls, or face-to-face contact) and how frequently that should happen.

The court will consider all the information related to your case before making a decision. The overall consideration of the court is what is in the best interests of the children and, to determine this they consider the welfare checklist which includes things such as the child(ren)’s wishes and feelings, emotional and educational needs, and the likely impact of any changes in circumstances.

If the court grants you rights to see you grandchild, the child’s parent or carers cannot continue to prevent access.

Why choose Stowe Family Law for assistance with Grandparents rights?

  • As the UK’s largest national firm fully dedicated to family matters, we have a strong team of Grandparent rights’ lawyers experienced in a broad set of cases.
  • Whatever the nature of your case, our team will approach it with compassion and professionalism, so that you and those close to you feel supported.
  • We explain any legal jargon in clear, understandable terms to make sure you never feel overwhelmed by the process.
  • We’re regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are listed on The Legal 500
  • We’ve been shortlisted for national awards and named Family Law Firm of the Year by the Hampshire Law Society and the Yorkshire Legal Awards.
  • Hundreds of positive reviews from clients mean we have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot.
  • Our support section covers endless family law topics, including relationships, children and alternative parenting.

Grandparent rights’ FAQ’s

Grandparent rights’ FAQ’s

  • What rights do grandparents have to see their grandchildren?

    In England and Wales, grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to contact with their grandchildren.

    However, UK family courts acknowledge the significant role grandparents play in a grandchild’s life.

    In some cases the family courts may grant permission for grandparents to apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order so that they can spend time with their grandchild(ren) provided there is no record of violence, neglect, or abuse.

  • Can a parent stop a child from seeing grandparents?

    Yes. As the law doesn’t automatically give grandparents rights to see their grandchildren, parents or carers can refuse contact.

    However, if the issue escalates to the family court and a Child Arrangement Order is made allowing contact between the grandparents and the grandchild, parents are legally required to allow the contact to take place, as per the order.

    Failure to do so can lead to enforcement by the court, potentially resulting in penalties such as unpaid work, fines, or in rare cases, imprisonment.

  • Can I insist on seeing my grandchildren?

    If a parent stops you from having contact with their child, as their grandparent you have no legal backing to insist on seeing them.

  • What to do when you can't see your grandchildren

    If you’re being prevented from seeing your grandchildren, there are two key options:

    • You can first try to gain access through an informal arrangement with the parents or carers
    • If this is unsuccessful you can seek legal support to apply for a court order.

    In the first instance, if negotiations between you and the parents or carers are unsuccessful, we recommend you reach out to a professional family mediator. A mediator can explore options and help find solutions to the issues preventing access so you can re-establish an informal agreement and begin contact with your grandchildren.

    If you aren’t able to reach an agreement via mediation, you can take your case to the family court and seek permission to apply for a child arrangements order with the support of a family lawyer.

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Liza is based in our Winchester & Southampton offices and is experienced in divorce, financial matters, and legal issues issues involving children.

Date last reviewed: 05/06/2024

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