Do grandparents have rights?
These days grandparents often play a huge role in their grandchildren’s lives, frequently providing child care. Sadly, when parents break up, many grandparents worry that contact with their grandchildren could be affected. If you have found yourself cut out of your grandchildren’s lives you are not alone, sadly this happens all too often.
Try not to take sides
Whilst it may be difficult, try not to take sides – your main priority should be to your grandchildren who will be hurt if they hear either parent being bad mouthed.
Reassure each parent that you are there to support the children and that you want to maintain contact with the grandchildren. Be patient; separation can be hugely stressful for parents who they may need a little time to come to terms with things.
Consider mediation, a way to sort out a plan for the grandchildren and how you can play a role in their lives without resorting to Court.
When to take legal advice about contact with your grandchildren
If you're still concerned about your relationship with your grandchildren, take legal advice from a specialist family lawyer.
Whilst grandparents do not have any automatic legal rights to see their grandchildren, they do fall into a group of people who can apply to the court for permission to seek a child arrangement order. Courts generally view grandparents' roles as very important and will look at a number of factors when deciding if the application can be made, including your relationship with the grandchildren and whether the application could be disruptive to the children. If the court grants the application, they will consider what level and type of contact is in the grandchildren’s best interests.
However, court proceedings should be a last resort - sending a letter from a good family lawyer or trying mediation should be considered first.
Are you a godparent? Click here for advice on rights for godparents