Blog: HRJ Foreman Solicitors: Grandparents rights and access to grandchildren

Business / Fri 9th Feb 2024 at 09:26am

WE are often asked, are grandparents legally entitled to see their grandchildren?

Currently, the law in England and Wales does not give grandparents an automatic right to see their grandchildren.  However there are some things grandparents can do if they wish to seek more regular access to their grandchildren.

Here, Vyonne Manuel, Family Solicitor at HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors explains in more detail.

First steps for grandparents to gain access to their grandchildren

Sometimes following a divorce or separation, grandparents lose access to their grandchildren, and struggle to open lines of communication to see them.

As the law in the UK does not give grandparents legal access rights, the first most natural step to is attempt to gain access by agreement. Where this is unsuccessful or relationships are strained, grandparents should consider the mediation process. Family mediation is a voluntary and confidential process whereby an independent mediator will facilitate a family discussion with the aim of reaching a decision that all sides can support.

Child Arrangement Order for grandparents

If mediation is unsuccessful, then grandparents can seek permission from the court to apply for a Child Arrangement Order to regulate their access to their grandchildren.  It is not possible to apply for the Order without permission from the court. This additional step for grandparents is in place to provide a filter to sift out applications that may not be in the child’s best interests.

Section 10 (9) of the Children Act 1989 confirms consideration to the following must occur when an application for leave is being made:

  • The nature of the application
  • The applicants (grandparents) connection with the children
  • Whether contact with the grandparents would be harmful to the children

Grandparent rights

Grandparents have an Article 4 (Right to life) and Article 8 (right to private and family life) which means their applications should not be dismissed without comprehensive examination. If parents object to their children having contact with the children’s grandparents, these objections must be evidenced and substantiated, a mere dislike of the grandparents is not a good enough reason to refuse contact.

A significant number of grandparents lose all contact with their grandchildren on separation, which leaves many grandparents turning to the Children Act 1989 to secure a court order for defined contact.

For many, grandparents do play an integral role in children’s lives where children benefit from their support and love and learn more about their identity and heritage.  The family can also benefit from increased access to childcare and extended family life.

If you find yourself in this position, contact our specialist family lawyers here at HRJ Foreman Laws to help you navigate through the process of regaining access to your grandchildren.

To make an initial appointment with one of our family solicitors 

  • Email [email protected]
  • Call Hitchin 01462 458711, Welwyn Garden City, 01707 887700,
  • Complete our contact form here
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