Grandparents Rights Lawyers Berkhamsted, Amersham & Beaconsfield
What are my rights as a grandparent?
Grandparents do not automatically have the legal right to see their grandchildren. However, if a parent has stopped you from seeing your grandchild (known legally as having ‘contact’), then you can seek help from the Courts.
What can I do to continue contacting my grandchildren?
It is important to try and maintain contact with your grandchildren if possible. It is equally important to maintain a good level of communication with the parents of your grandchildren. If the parents are in the process of separation, it is best not to take sides and support both parties.
If this is unsuccessful, you can consider mediation. A mediator will be able to help the parties reach an agreement. To do this, you need to schedule a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). Once it’s decided that mediation is a suitable path, the mediator will invite the parties to mediation in writing, commonly this is done via email.
After you have completed a MIAM, the mediator will put a plan together for a joint mediation session. This can be done online via video or in person. If it turns out that mediation is not suitable or is not proceeding, the mediator will provide a mediation certificate so you can apply to Court for a child arrangements order. In order to get this process started, you need to obtain the Courts permission.
What options do I have to maintain contact in the interim?
In the meantime, you should try and maintain indirect contact as much as possible. However, maintaining indirect contact will depend on the age of your grandchildren. If they are old enough to use mobile phones or laptops, you can easily text and video call them on a regular basis. If this is not an option, you can consider writing them a letter and sending them cards.
What can be done if my son is not on my grandchild’s birth certificate?
In order to apply to Court for contact you will first need to obtain permission from the Court prior to being allowed to make the substantive application. You will need to make your application using the C100 application form. When considering whether to grant permission the Court will have regard to the following:
- The applicant’s connection with the children.
- The nature of the application for contact.
- Whether the application might be potentially harmful to the children’s welfare.
No, you do not have an automatic right to your grandchildren. However, the Court does recognise how important the role of a grandparent can be in the lives of children. If you have a relationship with the children and there’s no history of abuse, violence, or neglect, the Court will grant you permission.
You have a right to go back to court and explain how the parents have breached the order. The Court can then enforce the order.
No, you are not required to instruct a solicitor, however, obtaining legal assistance early in the stage will assist you in building a stronger case.
Grandparents can make an application to Court for a child arrangements order for a contact or lives with order or special guardianship order, appointing them as special guardians. Grandparents can also consider the option of adopting their grandchildren. The Court will always make a decision based on what is in the children’s best interests.
A grandparent who wishes to take on the formal care of a grandchild in the absence of a parent may decide to ask the court for a child arrangements order for a lives with order or special guardianship order, appointing them as special guardians. They may also be considering adoption. In many situations, particularly where either or both parents have died, it will be too soon to consider such a permanent move. Courts very rarely sanction adoption in these cases, as it distorts the child/family relationships. In these circumstances, it would be more appropriate to apply for a special guardianship order.
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