Do I have a right to see my grandchildren? Can I get a court order?

Unfortunately, situations can arise where grandparents are denied contact with their grandchildren.

If you’re in this difficult position, you do have some options and there are legal steps you can take.

In his latest article, Family Partner Simon Immins outlines what those steps are and your rights as a grandparent.

Do I have a right to see my grandchildren?

Sadly, grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to see their grandchildren.

This means that parents can legally deny grandparents contact  with grandchildren. Children however, do have a right to know their extended family members if it is in their best interests to do so for their welfare.

However, if you’re a grandparent who wishes to see your grandchildren you do have some options.

What to do when you can’t see your grandchildren?

Before taking legal action and getting a court order, there are some preliminary steps which you can try to regain contact with your grandchildren.
Firstly, depending on your circumstances and relationship with your grandchildren’s parents, you can try speaking to them and aim to find a middle ground for contact.

For example, rather than never having contact with your grandchildren and being cut off you may agree to see them once every 2 weeks, once per month or indirectly over the phone, video call or by letter.

We understand that this may not always be an option and if this is the case, or discussions have failed, you may wish to get a third-party mediator involved.

Family mediation

A Family Mediator may be able to assist you and your grandchildren’s parents in coming to an agreement on contact arrangements.

Instructing an independent third party may be a good option for you as it allows for open communication and unbiased mediation. Before the next steps of applying for an Order then mediation must be tried unless there is a very good reason why it isn’t appropriate.

Alternatively, and if none of the above works, you may wish to apply for a court order which would decide on your contact with your grandchildren.

What is a Child Arrangement Order? (CAO)

A Child Arrangement Order is a legally binding court order which sets out child arrangements such as who the child is to live, spend time and have contact with.

The court also has powers to make other orders such as Prohibited Steps Orders, Specific Issue Orders and Orders that vary or discharge any existing CAO.

As a grandparent, you could potentially use a CAO to gain access to and contact your grandchildren.

For a more general look at CAOs, you can read our dedicated article here. Or, if you’re a grandparent looking for more tailored advice, you can stay on this page.

How does a Child Arrangements Order work?

There are two aspects that the court can decide when making a Child Arrangement Order, Live With (Residence) and Spend Time With (Contact). I’ve outlined how both of these aspects of the order work below

Click here to read the full article.

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