Michael Batty discusses what help is available to Grandparents in Family Proceedings
Unfortunately, Grandparents do not 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 contact or residence order. 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’s Family and Children Law Team can assess your eligibility for Legal Aid and if you are not eligible provide you with competitive fixed fee prices.
FPH Law has recently joined the Grandparents Plus lawyers list. Grandparents Plus is the only national charity (England and Wales) dedicated to grandparents and their role in the care and development of their grandchildren. This organisation offers invaluable assistance to grandparents caring or seeking to care for their grandchildren; something FPH Law strives to do in terms of legal advice and representation.