Monday, June 26, 2006

Grandparents' Rights

I am often asked what rights do grandparents have, so I thought I would write this post, for the benefit of non-lawyers.

Grandparents (and, in fact, any other interested person) have the same rights as parents, as they can apply for the same orders (residence, contact, prohibited steps and specific issue orders) as parents. The only difference is that, unlike parents, they have to obtain the leave (or permission) of the court, before proceeding with the application. Leave will be granted in most cases unless, for example, the court considers that there is a risk that the application may cause serious disruption to the child's life.

The most common type of application made by grandparents is for contact with their grandchildren. Once leave is granted, the court will use the usual principles to decide the matter, such as the ascertainable wishes of the child, the effect on the child of any change in circumstances and how capable the applicants are of meeting the child's needs. Most grandparents are granted contact, as it is generally considered that it is beneficial for children to have a relationship with their grandparents. However, the grandparents would obviously not normally be granted the same amount of contact as a parent.

Lack of contact by grandparents is often linked to lack of contact by the absent parent, i.e. the grandparents' child. If the parent is him/herself making an application for contact then consideration should be given to whether it is necessary for the grandparents to also make an application, as often grandparents have contact during periods of contact by the parent. If it is considered necessary for both the parent and grandparents to make applications, then often the court will consolidate both applications, so that they are dealt with together.

Of course, the above is just a statement of the law. For advice specific to any particular matter, consult a solicitor.

33 comments:

  1. In the United State things are not the same.
    http://averybadsituation.blogspot.com/
    At least not in New York State.

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  2. I thought you might be interested in a campaign to grant legal rights to grandparents, particularly in care and adoption proceedings.

    Supported by 50 MPs from 6 political parties, and 7 parent/grandparent/children charities, this campaign is the subject of Early Day Motion 1199 tabled in March 2008.

    More information can be found on my own blog:

    www.thecustodyminefield.blogspot.com

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    1. i have brought my granchildren up they have been babbies now my daughterin law has re married as they are moving next month kids keep crying and phoneing me up crying they dont want to go now phones been confescated as i am 65 and do not drivehow am i supposed to see them one worried nan

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    2. I am afraid that I am no longer practising, so I can't advise you. You should consult a solicitor - find one here (tell them if you need legal aid - if they don't do legal aid work, they should give you details of firms that do).

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  3. my son has had achild in 2008.he is registered as the father.can he give us the right to see our grandchild on his behalf when he is away,as he is a medic in the army.the mother has turned against us as my son has told her their relationship has ended.they were unmarried.

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  4. No, I'm afraid your son can't give you the right to see your grandchild, although he can let you see the child when he has contact, unless there is a restriction on the contact preventing this. Otherwise, you will have to make an application yourself - most grandparents are granted contact, as I said in the post.

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  5. my daughter and i do not speek , we did until the past year or so on and off ,but for resons we can not under stand she keeps having out brusts at us if we dont do what she wants when she wants ie get things for her on credit etc , every time she has a out burst she lies about us and twists things and stops us from seeing our grand daughter who is 3 years old , we have until recently (christmas)always been a constant in our grand daughters life and spent thousands of pounds helping them buy things for her that my granddaughter needed as my daughter and son inlaw where out of work for along time and not in a position to do so we have helped them in every way possible for our grand daughters sake as we dote on her ,,, i just wondered where we stand legally as i feel that is now the route we are going to have to take ,,

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  6. If you cannot resolve this amicably then you can apply to a court for a contact order. You should consult a solicitor.

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  7. i think the amicable window is now closed ,, can you please tell me how long that would take to obtain a contact order , and the cost entailed , and what our chances of obtaining a contact order ,,
    thank you

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  8. Sorry, but I can't give that sort of advice here. Your solicitor will be able to advise you.

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  9. My daughter has mental health problems and a single mother of 2 girls aged 4yrs and 8months - different fathers, the eldest daughter's father now living in Iceland. She wants to give up the youngest (but not to the father, he does not see his child). I'm concerned for the little one and if I report her to the social services and they remove the children, will I lose the oldest (who has virtually been brought up by me) to her father in Iceland.

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  10. I'm sorry, but I couldn't possibly answer this here. You need to consult a solicitor, preferably one who is a specialist in children law. Go here to find one near to you.

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  11. could a grandad parent apply for custody of a child even if the social services have said there is no worries toward the childs upbringing?

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  12. Yes, an application could be made.

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  13. I found out almost 2 years ago now that my ex-husband had/was/is abusing (at the time)my less than 3 year old grand daughter. My now husband and I did everything and anything to help my daughter. If we weren't having my grand daughter over night we saw her every day, we had her so my daughter could go away on holiday. When my daughter had my grand son we had my grand daughter for 3 and a half weeks, and a week after. After she went back to her Mum we still played a big part in her and my grand sons life.
    Someone informed social services, not us, as my grand daughter had been screaming to be kept safe from 'grandad playing with my bottom!' My ex-husband and his mother manipulated my daughter so she said she hadn't heard her daughter screaming (my son was staying with her at the time and woke her so as she did hear her daughter). Social services closed the case, I didn't know what to do we contacted social services ourselves they came tsee us and said the would reopen the case. We eventually spent six months having both grand children to keep them safe from my ex-husband [my daughter won't] until summer last year her father paid for her to go on holiday, she was on her own for thr first week then he joined her on the second. My grand daughter phoned me every day until we found out that her grandad was with them.
    We have had no contact with them since July last year. We have tried to contact my daughter but she won't answer the phone, mobile, letter or e-mail, if she does she is nasty and evil, it is just so devastating. I don't know what to do about it. Am I entitled to see my grand children? If so how do I go about it?
    I look forward to your reply.

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  14. You can certainly apply for a contact order, but I can't advise you upon the prospects of success. You should consult a solicitor.

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  15. Thank you for your coment and we will contact a solicitor. In what way do you mean you can't advise on the prospects of success? Do you believe that it would be inadviseable to take legal action for a contact order?
    Kind regards and many thanks.

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  16. I'm not saying anything about whether you should take action - I can't give such advice here. You should discuss the matter with your solicitor.

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  17. I have a 4year old Daughter who's father is not in my childs life and never has been how ever his parents have been there since day one and have played a regular part of her life. How ever I have found out that they have been saying bad things about me and my family to my daughter and I ask them not to give her sweets when she is with them as her gums are rotting and she is only 4 but they still continue to give her sweets and I am not just on about a couple I am on about a big bag of sweets, 3 kinder eggs and a bag of marshmellows then ice cream and thats every time she goes I want to stop contact but his mother has threaten to take me to court if I do as she thinks she is just being nice to my daughter by giving her treats and that I am just cruel what are my rights for stopping contact as I am her mum and they are making life difficult for my self and my daughter as she thinks I am the mean one

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  18. i am a mum to a month old and iv stop her gran form seeing her as shes causeing disruption to my family by maken argument and belitteling me. shes also brought her new partner who does drugs and has been acused of child merlestering. she got three other grandchildren which the parent does not alow her to see but she hasent fought for them. but shes treathing to take me to court. will the courts grant her to see my child. even thow she got 3 others she aint allowed to see and has never fought for them ?

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  19. Sorry, but I can't give legal advice. You can find an expert family lawyer here.

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  20. Because of an argument with my son and his partner they are now stopping us from seeing the children.
    What are our legal rights??

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  21. Hi i look afer my grandson 3 days a wk half 8 til half 5 on tues,thurs and fri, i work mon and wed 6 hours each day, my employee now wants me to work 3 times a wk working 4 hours on each day,i agreed with my manager 2 years ago that i would be looking after my grandson while my daughter returned to work to provide for him, it has come back that because i am not my grandson s primary carer i have to change my hours and days, both my daughter and grandson live with me has done since he was 3 months old, i look after him more during the wk than my daughter, and would rather my hours stayed the same could you please help

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  22. Sorry, but I am no longer practising and cannot therefore give advice. In any event, I'm not sure whether you need family law advice or employment law advice. You could start by contacting your local CAB.

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  23. My ex partner the father to my son went to jail for abh against me not so long bak, he was given a restrain order on his release in which he broke and we returned to court again, he was found guilty after pleadin not guilty and was given a date to attend at crown court, in his absence he was given 10months inprisonment and is currently on the run, although his mother has requested through her solicitor that she.d like to have my son over night , i do not give permission to this due to her son been very aggressive and violent and her helping him to flea the country if this went to court would she be granted contact even though my sons well being would be in great jepody?

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    1. I'm afraid I can't give advice. You should consult a specialist family lawyer. You can find one here.

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  24. my son and his wife had a baby boy in oct2011 they live round the corner from me and my daughter i saw my grandson for 15 mins in nov 2011 and 30mins in december 2011 i have not seen him since I send him a birtday card and a christmascard but i cannot take my grandson any presents because i have been accused of storking what rights do i have asi have done nothing wrong

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  25. My daughter passed away in 2008 leaving my 3 grandsons ages 4,5&6 at the time. There dad who had split from my daughter before she passed away wanted to bring them up[that was my daughters wishes if anything happened to her]although they lived with me for most of there lives with there mum & when my daughter did get a house i helped care for my grandsons daily while she was in and out of hospital[my grandchildren did want to live with there dad]in what was there mums house, it was gradually that they went with there dad over 2 months and there dad and his parents[who hardly ever saw them & didn't want to be involved when my daughter was here]said that things would not change and i could see my grandsons whenever i wanted. First of all i wasn't allowed to do the school run, then i had to have them set days so contact was wed5pm-9pm&sleep in school holidays&stay till 5pm thur/frid 5pm-sat 5pm/ sun 5pm-9pm slowly contact has gone to frid 5pm-9pm they have been manipulating my grandsons and trying to turn them against all my family what can i do about this i feel like i want to fight for custody there is a lot more to it and they have done nasty stuff and my grandchildren are not happy with the situation

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  26. As I said above, I'm afraid I can't give advice. You should both consult a specialist family lawyer. You can find one at the link above.

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  27. my son has terminal cancer and I have a very fragile relationship with my daughter in law. Can she stop me from seeing my grandson when my son dies?

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    Replies
    1. If she does, you will need to apply for a contact order.

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