Do Grandparents Have Automatic Rights to their Grandchildren?
In England and Wales, grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchild, as they do not have Parental Responsibilities and Rights.
However, they can apply for a Court Order seeking contact with the child. Family courts do recognise the invaluable role that grandparents have to play in their grandchildren’s lives and it is very rare that the court would refuse a grandparent access to grandchildren, unless there is evidence of abuse or violence.
Sadly, some marriages do end in divorce, so it is understandable that grandparents worry about whether their relationship with their grandchildren will become disjointed.
What are Residence Orders?
A Residence Order can be made if a grandchild is in the care of a Local Authority. In this circumstances, the original Care Order would be discharged.
The court will have the grandchild’s interests as the highest concern in deciding whether or not to make a Residence Order. The court must not make the Order unless it considers that doing so is better than making no Order at all.
What are Contact Orders?
Only people with Parental Responsibility: parents, step-parents or guardians can make an application for a Contact Order.
Grandparents can apply for permission to have a Contact Order. In doing so, 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.
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 might have to attend a full hearing in which both parties can put forward their evidence.
The court might consider whether your continuing contact with the child might have a negative impact on the rest of the family. However, in most cases, the courts do grant access to grandchildren.
At Ashmans Solicitors, we have an expert team of in-house family law specialists, each with many years of experience representing clients in family courts. Our experienced Family Law Team will always put you and your grandchild’s best interests first.
Contact Ashmans Solicitors now for a free, no-obligation enquiry – all enquiries are welcome.
Please use the Contact Us form regarding your Grandparents’ Rights query, being as detailed as possible.
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