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Family Law

Grandparent's Rights

Grandparents are often integral to the day-to-day running of a family – whether that’s providing childcare or helping with everyday activities. When a relationship breaks down, the contact between grandparents and grandchildren may end. We know this can be a really upsetting time for everyone and we are here to help.

Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 of over 55s in the UK look after their grandchild twice a week. Grandparents help children to understand their family dynamics and heritage – the value of their relationship with their grandchildren shouldn’t be underestimated. We know the number of issues that grandparents face in these situations and we can help.

Rights

40% of grandparents lose contact with their grandchildren when the child’s parents separate. This may be because grandparents don’t have any automatic rights to contact and aren’t aware of their options.

There are various options for you:

Direct discussion

The first step is always to try and discuss your issues and feelings with the children’s parents. Even though they are no longer in a relationship, that shouldn’t mean that you can’t have a relationship with your grandchildren. If you’d prefer not to discuss the issues face-to-face, you could try writing them a letter or email instead.

Mediation

If you’ve tried to discuss the issues with the children’s parents but it hasn’t gone well, you should contact a mediator.

If mediation isn’t successful and you’re still having trouble seeing your grandchildren, you may wish to consider making an application to Court for a Child Arrangement Order.

Court Proceedings

As grandparents, you don’t have an automatic right to apply to the court for an order concerning your grandchildren. You’ll have to apply for permission (leave) in the first instance. The Courts will consider a few points including your relationship with the children and the nature of the application. There are some exceptions to this requirement to seek leave including:

  • Where the child/children have lived with you for 3 years
  • Where those with parental responsibility (the child’s mother, father, step-parent or other guardian) are happy for you to apply

If the Court gives you permission, you can apply for a Child Arrangement Order. Depending on the facts of the case, one or both of the parents may object to you making the application and you may have to attend a hearing so that everyone can give evidence to the judge.

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