Do you have any Rights as a Grandparent to have access to your grandchildren
In an acrimonious breakdown of a relationship often you as grandparents are denied contact with your grandchildren.
Even though you may previously have spent time caring for your grandchildren whilst their parents were at work you have as grandparents no automatic right to contact with your grandchildren.
Fortunately, the Family Court recognises the valuable part you play in your grandchildren’s lives and it is very rare that the court would refuse you contact with them unless there is evidence of abuse or violence.
Can you apply to the Family Court to have contact with your Grandchildren?
The simple answer is no, because you do not have parental responsibility. However, you can apply to the court for permission to make an application for a Child Arrangement Order that would if granted allow you contact.
Firstly the Court will hear your application for permission to make the Child Arrangement order application and if granted will then move on to the main application. The Court will consider the following to decide whether to grant permission:
- Your connection with the child;
- The nature of your application for contact; and
- Whether your application might be potentially harmful to the child’s well-being in any way.
If one, or both parents raise objections you are likely to have to attend a full hearing in which both parties can put forward their evidence. It is essential that you receive good legal advice at this stage because you will need to persuade the court that you have a meaningful and on-going relationship with your grandchildren, which significantly benefits their lives.
The court will always consider all the child’s circumstances and must only make an order where they consider it better for the child than making no order at all. For example, they might have to weigh up whether your continuing contact with the child might have a negative impact on the rest of the family relationships, again it is only in extreme circumstance that a court will refuse access to grandchildren.