Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari

Grandparents: Access to grandchildren when the parents split

More grandparents than ever before are going to court for the right to see their grandchildren, recent figures reveal.

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that grandparents applied to family courts for almost 2,000 child arrangement orders in 2016 compared to 1,617 applications in 2014.

Close bonds with grandchildren are more and more common as grandparents increasingly help out with child care, inevitably spending lots of time together.

As a result, they are devastated if they are no longer able to see these grandchildren when parents separate and are turning to the courts for help and to formalise access arrangements.

What rights do grandparents have?

Sadly, grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren, no matter how close the relationship or how much time they previously spent together.

However, family courts recognise the importance and value of the relationship between grandparent and child and it is rare for access to be refused.

The Court always makes its decision based on the best interests of the child or children and any alleged welfare or safeguarding concerns.

How are arrangements for children decided?

Following the breakdown of a relationship between the parents, courts are often asked to help decide future arrangements for any children. This includes where and with whom they are to live as well as who they are to spend time and have contact with.

These orders are called Child Arrangement Orders and a parent can apply for one at any time. Grandparents, however, need permission from the court to apply for a Child Arrangement Order.

Our legal guide Grandparents and their grandchildren explains more about what you need to do when applying for an order.

Amy Jones specialises in family, divorce and relationship breakdown matters as well as issues concerning children and finances. For help and legal advice on this area of the law, please contact Amy directly, any member of our Family Law and Divorce team or pop into one of our 11 local offices

Get in Touch

Request a call back

If you’d prefer us to call you back, just use the form below to give us your number and the best time to call. It would also be useful if you could give us some idea of what you’d like to discuss.

    Close

    April 2021: Covid-19 arrangements

    Wards Solicitors remains open for business and we are taking on new cases.  We are available for video call and telephone meetings but cannot currently offer face to face meetings with clients except in some specific emergency situations and at court hearings.

    How to get in touch:

    • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
    • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, Mondays to Fridays.
    • Alternatively, email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

    A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating as normal behind closed doors.

    Important Warning: Cyber-crime is very common including email interception. We will never tell you of changes to our bank details by email.  Please be aware that we accept no responsibility if you transfer money to a bank account which is not ours. If you receive an email giving our bank account details, please telephone us immediately without replying to the email or sending money.