Grandparent’s Day 2015: Having Contact with Your Grandchildren

grandparents day

Grandparent’s Day 2015 will be celebrated across the UK on 13th September 2015.

The bond between a grandparent and their grandchild is regarded as one of the most precious relationships in life.  Grandparents are free of the stresses of parenting and can simply enjoy a fun and loving relationship with their grandchild.   Often this relationship can be of great benefit, not only to grandparent and grandchild but also to busy parents who can have some valued time off from parenting.
But for some grandparents, having a relationship with their grandchild can be impossible if one or both of the child’s parents refuse allow them to have contact time with their grandchildren.  Often this can happen when the parents have separated and bad feeling develops amongst the wider family.
If you are a grandparent in this position, there are things that you can do to try and see your grandchildren.  

I want to see my grandchild – what can I do??

If contact between you and your grandchild cannot be agreed then you can apply to the Court for a Contact Order.  You must first seek permission from the Court to bring such an application however in all but exceptional circumstances this permission is granted.

Once permission is granted, the Court would then consider your application for contact in more general terms.  Both of your grandchild’s parents would be a party in this application and they are entitled ask the Court to consider any objections which they may have in relation to you having contact with your grandchild.

What will the Court look at when deciding on whether to grant me a Contact Order??

The Court will consider all the circumstances of your case but in particular the Court will look at what is in the best interests of your grandchild.  The Court may ask a Court appointed social worker (known as the Court Children’s Officer) to speak to your grandchild in order to find out what his/her views are in relation to having contact with you.  Your grandchild’s views will be taken into account however how much weight the Court places on their views will depend on their age and understanding.

How much contact can I expect to get with my grandchild?

Whilst the Courts are sympathetic to grandparent’s applications for contact and are aware of the importance of such a relationship, a grandparent would not generally expect as much contact as a parent who is living apart from his/her children.   That being said, a Court will consider each case on its own circumstances and permit contact at a level that they believe is in the child’s best interests.

I want my grandchild to come and live with me – can I ask the Court for this?

In some exceptional circumstances, a grandparent may apply for their grandchild to reside with them.  This would generally be in cases where the parents are not providing adequate care for their child.  If successful, the Court would grant a grandparent a Residence Order in respect of their grandchild. A Residence Order would allow a grandparent to have Parental Responsibility for the child so that they could make day to day decisions regarding the child as well as engage with the child’s school and GP.

If you would like some further information on this area, please feel free to leave your comments below or alternatively contact us at kconnolly@fhanna.co.uk or cedgar@fhanna.co.uk

 

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