As the number of single parents and divorce rates continue to rise, grandparents are playing an increasingly important role in raising their grandchildren. Grandparents may assume a greater role in their grandchild's life because of the changing family dynamics or a lack of other options. However, for many grandparents, the caretaker role becomes a full-time job. If you are a grandparent and have questions about your rights as a grandparent, you are not alone. Understanding the rights of grandparents can be complicated.
Garratts' highly experienced Family Law team is here to guide and support you through the complexities of grandparents' rights. To speak to our team, fill in our contact form or call us on 0161 665 350.
What are the rights of grandparents?
There are a few rights that grandparents enjoy over their grandchildren. Grandparents may seek visitation with their grandchild after the parents have divorced or separated. Still, they are not granted any legal rights meaning the parents have the right to allow or restrict contact. Therefore it is within any grandparent's best interest to maintain a healthy relationship with their grandchild's parents.
If parents and grandparents cannot reach an agreement, grandparents can apply for a Child Arrangement Order.
An application by a grandparent , unlike parents, cannot be made automatically ( save for a few situations such as the child having been living with the grandparents for a period ) and the Grandparent would therefore first also have to apply for the Permission (Leave) of the Court to make an application.
How can grandparents apply for a Child Arrangement Order?
To establish a relationship with their grandchild without parental consent, a grandparent must apply for a court order.
Before doing so, grandparents have to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting. An independent family mediator will support the separated or divorced parents and grandparents in reaching an agreement.
If this meeting is unsuccessful, the grandparents may apply for a court order to seek contact with their grandchild by filling in a C100 application form and sending it to their nearest family court. They will need to pay a court fee of £232 and have the application signed by their mediator.
The court will then invite the grandparents to a hearing. Various things will be discussed, including the interpersonal relationship between grandparents and grandchild, why the grandparents feel they deserve visitation with their grandchild and any risks or potential harm in maintaining contact and whether permission to make the application will be granted.
If you want to speak to one of our legal experts specialising in grandparents' rights, you can call us on 0161 665 350 or request a callback.
What is a Special Guardianship for grandparents?
In England and Wales, grandparents can apply for a Special Guardianship. As a Special Guardian, you will be responsible for looking after the child until they turn 18. This includes making certain decisions about the child's education and medical care for which grandparents will not require content from those with parental responsibility.
Do grandparents obtain rights after their grandchild has been adopted?
Not necessarily, as the court and children's services have no obligation to consider the right to visitation and/or financial support of a grandparent after a child has been adopted.
What are grandparents' rights to adopt their grandchildren after the death of a parent?
If a child's parents pass away, the grandparents can apply for a Residence Order or a Special Guardianship Order.