Children's Act 1989
Originally under the Children’s Act 1989 there was great emphasis placed on the rights of parents but as the cases have evolved, a greater emphasis has been placed on the role of grandparents and the wider family in a child’s upbringing.
The role of a grandparent, if available, is vital to a child’s upbringing. Often during disputes over children the grandparents can soon be forgotten. In some cases a grandparent may lose contact altogether with their grandchild.
What are Grandparents rights?
Grandparents do not have automatic rights to have contact with their grandchild. However, with the leave of the Court, they are able to make an application for contact. The Courts will consider whether the grandparents have a valuable role to play in the upbringing of the child.
The Courts will also enquire into the past of the grandparents to see if there is a history of violence or abuse, deeming it unsafe for them to have contact. If necessary, an Order will be granted so that the grandparents can have contact with the children or for residence if needed.
Child Arrangements Order
If a grandparent wishes to have access with their grandchild, this should initially be sought through an agreement with the parents or carers of the child. However, on occasion, it can prove difficult to reach such agreement if, for example, there are family conflicts.
Unlike parents, a grandparent would first have to seek the leave of the Court. If they are successful in this, they may apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order so that they are granted access to the child, providing it is within their best interests.
If relationships have broken down, however, going to Court seems like an option you would rather avoid, we can offer our Mediation Services to you. This would involve one of our specialist Mediators sitting down with the parents and grandparents of the child to try and agree contact for the grandchild.
We have found in the past that this can be a good environment for each party to express their views constructively and reach an amicable decision without the costs and time factors associated with going to Court.
How Ringrose Law can help
Remember the child’s best interests are the most important thing to consider. The Court will only make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.
Often, we are asked by our clients, “What are Grandparents Rights?”. If you are a Grandparent or parent and want to talk to one of our team or find out more about the rights of grandparents, then please do not hesitate to contact us.Contact Children Department