We are frequently asked what are grandparents rights when they have been denied access to their grandchildren. The sad truth is that grandparents do not have an automatic right to contact with their grandchildren. However, family courts do recognise the invaluable role that grandparents have to play in their grandchildrens lives and it is very rare that the court would refuse a grandparent access to grandchildren unless there is evidence of abuse or violence.
Can Grandparents Apply To The Courts For Access to Grandchildren?
Only people with parental responsibility, for example parents, step-parents or guardians can make an application for a Contact Order. Whilst grandparents rights are limited they can, however, apply for permission (leave) to apply for a Contact Order and the courts will consider the following:
- The applicant’s connection with the child.
- The nature of the application for contact.
- Whether the application might be potentially harmful to the child’s well-being in any way.
If you are successful, you can apply for a Contact Order through the court to gain access to your grandchildren. 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. We have successfully helped many grandparents resolve disputes amicably and gain access to grandchildren.
If you need help with access to your grandchildren, please call us and speak to one of our experts.