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 

Dementia Friends image

Dementia Friends

Maples Solicitors are proud to announce that they have now joined to become Dementia Friends which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

The private client department of Maples Solicitors prepare Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney on a regular basis and this often involves dealing with clients who are suffering from dementia. The private client team pride themselves on spending as much time as is necessary to assist all of their clients, but those suffering from dementia often require additional assistance and time to ensure that they have fully understood the legal documentation that they are creating. The private client department are regularly complimented on the way they deal with such clients, whether this be explaining things to them in a clear and uncomplicated manner, spending time with them or putting them at ease.

It is a misconception that anyone suffering from dementia cannot make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney. Only if someone lacks sufficient mental capacity are they unable to make such a document. It is therefore vitally important upon any diagnosis of dementia that legal advice is taken as soon as possible to make sure that your affairs are in order so that it is easier for your family to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so yourself.

To become Dementia Friends, Maples Solicitors have pledged to develop their understanding of dementia and continue assisting clients suffering from dementia with their legal affairs in a respectful, friendly and efficient way that is not daunting making the process as easy as possible.

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Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

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