Grandparents’ rights: Do grandparents have the right to see their grandchildren?
When two parents separate, it’s not uncommon for grandparents to wonder if they have any ‘rights’ to see their grandchildren. Often, grandparents will have a good relationship with either or both of the parents and are able to see their grandchildren freely. When this is not the case, it can be difficult to know what to do.
Child Arrangements Order
Firstly it is advisable to see if the issue can be agreed – either directly or via solicitors. Where this does not assist, a grandparent who is struggling to maintain a relationship with their grandchild will have to consider making an application to the Court. The Court would be asked to make a Child Arrangements Order setting out that the grandchild should spend time with their grandparent.
Do grandparents have parental responsibility?
Those who can automatically apply for a Child Arrangements Order are those with parental responsibility for the child in question. A grandparent does not generally have parental responsibility, but it is possible for a grandparent to obtain parental responsibility in certain circumstances. Without parental responsibility, a grandparent has to ask the Court for permission to make an application to see their grandchildren.
The child’s best interest
Provided they obtain permission, the Court decides if a Child Arrangements Order should be made. The Court will take into account a number of factors, including the impact on the child, the connection between the grandparent and the child, and the reasons behind the application being made. When making a decision regarding the grandparent’s wish to spend time with their grandchildren, the Court will ultimately decide if it is in the child’s best interests.
There are options for grandparents whose relationship with the grandchild is being limited or prevented, and it is a good idea to get early legal advice.
Rix & Kay’s Family team
Janet Raeburn is a specialist family lawyer in Sussex with significant experience in resolving disputes relating to all aspects of a child’s life. If you would like any advice about grandparents’ rights or any other family law matter please email Janet on JanetRaeburn@rixandkay.co.uk or call 01825 744482.