Family Law Experts
Grandparents can be extremely important and influential figures to their grandchildren. They take on numerous different roles in the family and in many cases offer emotional, financial, and practical support to their grandchildren.
Unfortunately, there may be certain times when grandparents and parents do not see eye to eye and as a result are not able to be there for their grandchildren as they may wish to be. It is at this point that we can help.
Our solicitors can help you with:
As the law stands currently, grandparents do not have automatic rights to have contact with their grandchildren. Instead, if you are a grandparent and you would like to see your grandchildren you will have to make a specific application to the court for permission or leave to then apply to have contact with your grandchildren.
When deciding if leave should be granted, the courts will consider a number of things such as the nature of the application for contact, why it has been necessary to use the courts in this instance, and the connection between the applicant grandparents and the grandchildren. The courts will also consider what potential, harmful effects this application and by extension, any contact would have upon the grandchildren. In circumstances like these, it is unlikely that the courts will refuse to grant leave to make an application.
Contact applications fall under the general head of child arrangement orders. Depending on the level of opposition from one or both of the parents of the grandchild, an order may be made by a Judge at the first instance or the matter may go to a hearing where each party sets out their position and supports this with evidence. Courts will always look to make a finding that best promotes the welfare of the child.
In many cases, a CAFCASS report will be ordered to assist the court in making its decision. CAFCASS stands for children and family court advisory and support service and have independent officers who work with all parties in cases to work out the outcome that represents the child’s best interests.
Child arrangement orders cover where, when, and how contact is to take place and can range from indirect contact in the form of letters or phone calls to direct contact such as face-to-face visits. Direct contact can be supervised by professionals or by family members whom the court will appoint. The court will also decide on the frequency of this contact.
If contact is granted on a fairly infrequent basis but is having a positive effect on the child, or if indirect contact has been a success, it is possible to reapply to the court to have the Order amended to reflect this.
We offer a free initial appointment to discuss the options with you and advise you of the likely costs including if you would be eligible for legal aid or not.