Senior family court Judge for the south-west HHJ Stephen Wildblood has commented on how the family courts are being filled up by private law cases that should not require court involvement He noted examples of these types of cases which he has...
The relationship a child has with grandparents can often be an integral part of his or her development. Many families rely upon grandparents for assistance with childcare and grandparents often provide emotional and financial support for their grandchildren.
When parents separate there is often a risk is of hostility between the mother and the father extending to the grandparents. Generally, the best role for grandparents to assume is one of support for their grandchildren, without identifying too strongly with the rights and wrongs of the marriage breakdown. Grandparents can be a point of refuge for children. Despite this statistically following relationship breakdown a high percentage of grandparents are prevented from providing childcare or taking their grandchildren out, even if they have done so in the past and a significant percentage lose all contact.
Where parents are struggling with their own contact arrangements it can be best for grandparents to keep open lines of communication and be patient without being seen as too subversive by either of the parents. Family mediation may also be an option.
If all attempts to establish contact have failed then a more robust approach may be necessary.
What is involved?
Currently grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply for contact with their grandchildren. They must first make an application to court for permission to bring proceedings, during which the court will consider a range of factors including the connection the grandparents have with a child and whether the application would be harmful and disruptive, the court will also review the contact application and its likelihood of success before deciding whether to grant permission.
If the application for permission is successful then the contact order application will be considered. Each case is looked at on its own merits by considering a range of factors with the child’s welfare being the paramount consideration. For more information about contact orders please see our arrangements for children on separation page.
Why we are different?
We are specialist and experienced child care solicitors who have dealt with hundreds of applications involving children, including representing both parents and grandparents on applications for contact. Our aim is to try and resolve disputes pragmatically without court intervention if at all possible but if a court application is necessary, we will handle your case with judgment and care in a way that best supports your family and the children concerned.
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For more information, call us today on 0208 882 9850