Helping grandparents gain access to their grandchildren
Grandparents often make a huge contribution to children’s lives, but sadly this relationship can suffer when parents separate. Being estranged from your grandchildren can be painful and leave you feeling desperate, but you have options.
Although legally grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren, our Family Lawyers can utilise tools such as mediation to help resolve issues or the family courts can get involved.
Whether you want to secure regular access to your grandchildren, are seeking to become their primary carer or need help with any other issue related to your role as a grandparent, we will carefully listen to your concerns, offer the right legal advice and provide the tailored support you need.
With a careful mix of tact and resolve, we seek the right outcome for you and your grandchildren. Our team are experts in negotiation and mediation, as well as court proceedings, so can proactively support you whatever approach is needed.
We’re here for you.
Contact our grandparents’ rights solicitors in Northwich, Cheshire
Our expertise with grandparents’ rights
Negotiating access to grandchildren
If you are being denied access to your grandchildren, we can support you to resolve this amicably with their parents in the first instance. This helps to prevent the escalation of any conflict, so is normally best for your grandchildren’s wellbeing. It can also make it easier to repair family relationships, rather than risk straining them further.
We can advise you on your rights if you wish to discuss things privately or support and represent you during negotiations. We also offer an in-house mediation service, where our trained mediator acts as a neutral third party to help facilitate a resolution.
Child Arrangements Orders for grandchildren
If you cannot agree access to your grandchildren with their parents, then you may need to apply to a court for a Child Arrangements Order to be granted access. However, grandparents do not have an automatic right to do so, meaning you must first apply to the court for permission before making a Child Arrangements Order application.
Our grandparents’ rights solicitors can guide you through the whole process of gaining a Child Arrangements Order to secure grandparents’ access rights. We can handle all of the legal details for you, making the process simpler and smoother while increasing your chances of a positive outcome.
Becoming your grandchild’s legal guardian
Should your grandchildren’s parents be unable to care for them, you may want to explore becoming the children’s legal guardian. There are two main options for doing this on a long term basis:
- Special Guardianship – This makes you your grandchild’s legal guardian with day-to-day responsibility for their care and the ability to make all standard decisions about their life. This does not sever your grandchildren’s link with their parents, but it does mean you will not need to consult the parents about most decisions regarding the children’s upbringing.
- Adoption – This makes you legally your grandchild’s parent, with full parental responsibility for them and the ability to make all decisions regarding their upbringing. It also removes parental responsibility from their parents, taking away their legal rights with regard to the children.
Which option is best for your grandchildren will depend on the circumstances, so it is important to seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity. Both options involve applying to a court, so you should make sure you have appropriate legal support when doing so.
Our Family Law team can provide expert support for both Special Guardianship Order applications and Adoption Order applications, so we will be happy to advise.
Frequently asked questions about grandparents’ rights
What rights do grandparents have?
Many people are surprised to learn that grandparents do not have any automatic legal rights with regard to their grandchildren. This means grandparents do not have an automatic legal right to see or have contact with their grandchildren.
That said, if grandparents are being denied access to their grandchildren, it may be possible to resolve this through negotiation or mediation with the parents, or by applying for a court order to grant access.
How do you apply for grandparents’ rights?
If parents are refusing grandparents access to their grandchildren, then there are two main options:
- Seek to agree access amicably through negotiation, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods
- Apply to a court for a Child Arrangements Order granting access
As noted above, grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply for a Child Arrangements Order, so if you need to go down this route, you would first need to apply to a court for permission to apply for the Order.
Can a parent stop you from seeing your grandchildren?
The short answer is, sadly, yes, parents can refuse to allow you access to your grandchildren. However, as covered above, if this happens, there are potential options you can pursue to secure access to your grandchildren, so please speak to a member of our team for advice.
Can grandparents adopt their grandchildren?
If children’s parents are unable to care for them, then it may be possible for the children’s grandparent or grandparents to become their primary carer. While adopting the children may be an option, this is more normally achieved by applying for a Special Guardianship Order.
As a child’s Special Guardian, you will be responsible for their day-to-day care and most decisions about their lives. This allows you to act as their primary carer without needing to cut their legal link to their parents. If it is necessary to sever that legal link, then adopting your grandchildren may be more appropriate. We will be happy to advise on the two options and guide you through the necessary applications.
Why Choose Susan Howarth & Co for advice on grandparents’ rights?
We believe that everyone has the right to access justice and expert legal advice. By offering our clients the very best support, we help to protect their family life. We are very proud of our family law department, with our high-calibre solicitors having built up a fantastic reputation in the community.
At Susan Howarth & Co, we approach every case with professionalism and commitment. No client’s needs are the same, which is why we always take the time to understand what every individual needs.
Our expertise is independently recognised, including:
- Ranked as a Band 2 legal practice in the Chambers & Partners UK legal guide
- Directors Susan Howarth and Victoria Poole are both also ranked as Notable Practitioners by Chambers & Partners UK
- Ranked as a Band 3 Leading Family Law Firm in The Legal 500 directory
- Susan Howarth has been ranked as a Leading Individual for 4 consecutive years by the Legal 500
- Accreditation by the Law Society for Family Law and Children Law
- Many of our team are members of Resolution, the leading professional network for family lawyers
- Year on year we gain Lexcel accreditation for excellence in practice management
- We are winners of the Best Family and Childcare Law firm 2022 in the AI Legal Awards
- We have been finalists of the Lexis Nexis Family Law Firm of the Year (North) for 2 consecutive years
A key benefit we can offer is our in-house family mediation service. We have a specialist Resolution-trained Family Mediator who is also a Resolution-accredited Specialist in Domestic Violence and Children Law (private) and an FMC-accredited Family Mediator (all issues).