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Mark Williams

Posted 27 October 2016
by Mark Williams

Grandparents Rights



Grandparents have a valuable role to play in the welfare, development and upbringing of their grandchildren and when there is a family separation, they are often worried they will be prevented from having any contact with their grandchildren. Statistically around 40% of Grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren when their parents separate.

Unfortunately grandparents do not have an automatic right to contact with their grandchildren. However, Family Courts do recognise the important part that grandparents have to play in their grandchildren’s lives and it is very unusual that the Court would refuse a grandparent contact with their grandchildren except where there is evidence of abuse or violence.

Prior to any application, Grandparents are required to attend at mediation, in the same way any parent wanting to make an application would be required to. Grandparents do not have an automatic right to make an application to the Court and they must first seek “leave” (i.e. permission) from the Court to do so and the Court will consider the following:-

  • The applicant’s connection with the grandchild;
  • The nature of the application and the contact requested;
  • Whether the application may be possibly damaging to the grandchild’s well-being in any way.

If the application for leave is successful, grandparents can then apply for an Order through the Court to gain access to your grandchildren. If one, or both parents raise objections all parties are likely to have to appear at a Court hearing in which all parties can advance their argument and provide evidence.

Given the additional steps grandparents are required to take, the Court process can become costly and stressful. Alternative methods of resolution should always be explored and mediation, which is the first required step in any application to the Family Court in any event, can be useful for resolving, or at least narrowing, issues relating to child arrangements.

Ultimately, the welfare of the child/children will be the paramount consideration of the court and a decision will be made based on what is in their best interests.

Tozers LLP are proud to be affiliated with the Grandparents’ Association who put the issue of Grandparents Rights at the forefront. If you have concerns over the quality or amount of time you are able to spend with your grandchildren, contact us today for a free initial, no obligation consultation.

 

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About the author

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Associate

Associate within the family law team and an accredited specialist in domestic abuse