Legal Advice for Grandparents
If you are a grandparent and are fearful of losing contact with your grandchild due to the separation of their parents, the expert family law solicitors at JMW are here to help. Our solicitors are experienced in helping grandparents who find themselves in this unfortunate position and we can advise you of your options.
To speak to a member of our team today, simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will give you a call back at a time convenient for you. Our solicitors are approachable and helpful and will provide the guidance you need at what we know can be a very difficult time.
Contact with Grandchildren
It is estimated that up to 40% of children lose contact with their grandparents following the divorce or separation of their parents. The loss of the grandchild-grandparent relationship can be devastating for both children and adults alike.
Many grandparents believe they have no right to continuing contact with a grandchild if it is refused, and that there is nothing that can be done. However, this is not the case.
Although there is no legal presumption of continuing contact between a grandparent and grandchild, it is generally looked upon favourably. The courts recognise that often having secure and continuing relationships with a grandparent is in the best interests of a child, and that continued contact with grandparents can offer important stability during periods of significant change following family breakdown.
It is considered to be a child's right to have the opportunity to have a continuing relationship with extended family unless there are good reasons why it would not be safe for them to do so, and the court will usually look favourably upon an application to secure the continuation of that relationship.
There is no 'normal' order for contact between grandparents and grandchildren, and the frequency and duration of any contact will depend upon the circumstances of each individual case and what is considered to best suit the needs of the child involved.
Legal Options for Grandparents
Grandparents do not usually have an automatic right to make an application for contact. If it is not possible for a solution to be agreed through negotiations or mediation, an application for permission to make an application for contact (now known as a Child Arrangements Order) will usually have to be lodged at the same time.
This will be considered as a preliminary issue. In deciding whether to grant permission for the application to proceed, the court will look at the level of attachment between the grandparents and the child and their reasons for applying, together with whether it is in the best interests of the child for the application to move forward.
Our specialist team has extensive experience of helping grandparents restore their relationship with their grandchildren through negotiation, mediation or court proceedings and can help you today.
Caring for Grandchildren
Many grandparents help to care for their grandchildren, often by informal arrangement. There are times, however, when arrangements need to be formalised. If a parent becomes unable to care for their children for any reason, it is often extended family who step in.
Depending on the circumstances, and the length of time the arrangement will continue, family members sometimes need an order from the court to help secure the arrangements and to give them the ability to undertake all aspects of the child's care for so long as they are looking after them.
In some circumstances, orders can also help grandparents and extended family to access additional state support from the local authority to which they would not otherwise be entitled. This is usually done by way of a Child Arrangements Order or a Special Guardianship Order. It is only in very rare circumstances that the court will consider it appropriate for a grandparent to adopt their own grandchild.
It is not necessary for there to be a dispute for such orders to be made, and there are circumstances in which an order is needed, even if everyone is in agreement as to what the practical arrangements should be. Applications can be made by consent, as well as in circumstances where there is disagreement.
Our team understands that often these applications arise in particularly difficult and sensitive situations, and we will always do our best to help you resolve the problem with the minimum of upset and acrimony. We can help you decide which order is most appropriate for the circumstances.
Why Choose JMW?
The family law solicitors at JMW are approachable and understanding and we have a wealth of experience helping grandparents and other family members to see children when this access might otherwise have been denied.
We are known for our direct and pragmatic approach, which allows us to get the best results for you in the quickest, most efficient way possible. We will do all we can to assist you and to ensure the best interests of any children involved are properly considered.