A recent article published by Solicitors Journal revealed that, according to Justice Minister, Simon Hughes, seven grandparents made Court Order applications to see their grandchildren following the divorce or separation of the parents.
As the leading charity, National Family Mediation commented, Grandparents do not automatically have any legal rights in respect of their grandchildren. However, Grandparents do have the right to apply to the Court for “Leave” (permission) to apply for a Child Arrangements Order for Contact or Residence. It is very rare for such “Leave” applications to be refused by the Court.
Grandparents also have the right to apply to the Court for “Leave” during Care Proceedings, if they wish to be assessed as possible carers for their grandchildren.
If you are currently experiencing difficulties seeing your grandchildren, there are a number of options available to you.
Firstly, you should always try and communicate with the children’s parents to try and resolve matters. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with your relative in person, try writing to them first. However, do not use argumentative or aggressive language as this will only inflame the situation.
If this proves to be unsuccessful, you can enter into Mediation with your relative. Mediation is an independent process which allows you and your relative to discuss and sort out your differences. This can be very successful.
If you still experience difficulties, you may apply to Court for Leave to apply for a Contact Order. If the Court grants you permission, you may then submit a full application. However, think carefully before deciding to go to Court as it can be a long and difficult process.
If you do wish to step into the breach during Care Proceedings to care for your grandchild, or you wish to attend mediation to resolve a dispute over contact to your grandchild, FPH Law can assess your eligibility for Legal Aid and if you are not eligible provide you with competitive fixed fee prices.
If you wish to discuss this or any other Family Law matters, please contact our Family and Children Law Department.