The laws for grandparents seeking access to their grandchildren

The laws around grandparents seeking access to their grandchildren Picture: PA.
The laws around grandparents seeking access to their grandchildren Picture: PA.

My daughter is a single parent to my six-year-old grandson. Being a single parent I would try and help her out as much as possible with child care.
A few months ago she got into a new relationship. I do not think my daughter’s new partner is good for her or my grandson.
Since I told my daughter about my concerns she has stopped me seeing my grandson. As a grandparent do I have any rights and if so what can I do to see my grandson?

Grandparents do not have an automatic right to care for a child or to spend time with that child.

Grandparents do not have parental responsibility for a child unless granted it either by the court or delegated parental responsibility from a parent.

It is possible as a grandparent to make an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order.

These address where a child shall live and who the child will spend time with.

As you do not have parental responsibility for your grandson you require permission from the court to make this application. You can request permission when making the initial application.

Prior to making an application to the court you would be required to attempt mediation.

Mediation is an out of court independent service which attempts to assist parties in coming to some mutual decisions without the need for court proceedings.

The mediator can meet with you and your daughter together or separately. If your daughter chose not to engage with mediation the mediator would provide you with signed proof that you attempted mediation.

If you want to pursue a private application you will require the signed document from the mediator to attach to your court application.

An alternative first step as opposed to mediation and court proceedings could be to instruct a firm of solicitors to write to your daughter on your behalf with your proposals for contact to see if the matter could be resolved this way.

You seem to have played a significant part in your grandson’s life, if an application were to be made to the court this is something the court would be mindful of.

In any court proceedings relating to children, the child’s welfare is always the paramount consideration and decisions around contact are made with their best interests in mind.

If you wish to discuss this matter further,do not hesitate to contact us.

Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist Family solicitors who can advise you on issues such as this. To speak to a solicitor please phone 0191 565 3112 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk. Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for further information.