Grandparents Rights

10th March 2010
Grandparents Rights image

Grandparents Rights

It is increasingly common for Grandparents to have to make applications to Court for contact to their grandchildren.  Sadly when there is a breakdown within a family unit, for various reasons, grandparents can lose contact with their grandchildren.  The most common reason for this is that after separation or divorce, the parent with whom the child lives refuses to allow the grandparents (usually the “in-laws”) to have contact to the child.

Whilst of course it is always best to try and negotiate these matters and sometimes the Mediation Service can help resolve these disputes, there are occasions when the only way grandparents can secure contact to grandchildren is by way of a Court Order.

Grandparents must first of all make an application to Court for “leave” (permission) of the Court to make an application for contact.  In most cases leave is granted especially where there has been contact between the children and grandparents prior to the breakdown of the family.

Assuming grandparents are granted leave to make an application then the application is heard in a similar fashion to applications made by parents for contact to their children.  However, quite often grandparents’ applications have to be balanced alongside parents’ applications for contact. For instance, it is not uncommon for a father to be denied contact to children by the mother who also objects to the paternal grandparents exercising contact.  Generally, the Courts will of course give priority to father’s contact and usually, if father is granted contact then the paternal grandparents can take advantage of that and exercise contact to the children when their son exercises contact.

In some cases however grandparents need to pursue contact quite independently for a variety of reasons – sometime there is a dispute not just with the daughter/son-in-law but also the son/daughter.  Sometimes, a mother for instance, may not object to the children having contact with their father but does object to the children having contact with her ex “in-laws.”  Sometimes a parent dies and the surviving parent will not allow contact between the children and grandparents.

In any decision where a Court has to consider issues regarding the children under the Children Act 1989, the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration of the Court.  The Court will consider a variety of factors when deciding what is in the best interests of the child including the importance of the “child – grandparents” link over the years; the history of the relationship and the nature of the connection between the child and grandparent(s).  Lord Justice Ward in a frequently quoted case in 1995 stated that grandparents ought to have a special place in a child’s affection worthy of being maintained by contact and contact is assumed to be beneficial.

If you need any further advice or assistance on this subject then please do not hesitate to contact our Family Team: Anita Toal on 01775 722261 or email anita.toal@maplessolicitors.com 


Maples supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning image

Maples supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning

On 29th September 2017 Maples Solicitors LLP will be hosting a coffee morning as part of Macmillan’s “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be served from 10:00am until 1:00pm and all donations received will go to Macmillan Cancer Support to assist them with providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support to those facing cancer and their families.

At the same time, Maples will also be running a free Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate clinic so that whilst you are in the office you may take the opportunity to discuss any of these with one of the Private Client Team with no obligation to commit. You can use the time to raise any questions you may have about making a Will, who you could appoint as Executors, whether you need a Power of Attorney or how a Power of Attorney works, for example.

Maples hope to see their existing clients join them for the coffee morning and very much look forward to meeting new people- everyone is welcome!

If you would like to discuss any matters in relation to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or any Probate related matters prior to the coffee morning then please contact one of the lawyers in our private client team:-

Jane Mawer- jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com
Jamie Dobbs- jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com
Faye Blair- faye.blair@maplessolcitors.com

Or telephone the office on 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.

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