Grandparents often play a vital role in their grandchildren’s lives, from providing childcare support to helping with their physical and emotional development. It can be heart-breaking for grandparents when the child’s parents break up and move away or there is a family fall-out that results in loss of contact.
Do grandparents have the legal right to see their grandchildren? In the UK, the short answer is no, you do not have any automatic legal rights. It is typically up to the child’s parents to decide who the child can see and how much time they spend with them. This can often make grandparents feel helpless and unable to build the relationship they want with their grandchildren.
However, you do not have to accept rejection at face value. It is well known that having a relationship with their grandparents is often valuable and the courts will allow contact if it is in the best interests of the child. With the right support and advice, it is also often possible to negotiate with the child’s parents to allow you contact.
Our children law solicitors in Bristol and Bath regularly advise grandparents who are being denied contact with their grandchildren. Whether the loss of contact has been caused by the parents splitting up or there have been disagreements which resulted in the parents breaking off contact, we are here to provide practical advice and professional support.
We have significant experience assisting people with international connections around the world, including the USA, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. Therefore, we can provide expert advice if contact with your grandchildren has ceased because their parents have taken them overseas or where you are primarily based outside of the UK.
To discuss your rights and option as a grandparent, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol:
Why choose Sharp Family Law for advice about grandparents’ rights?
Sharp Family Law is one of the biggest niche family law firms in Bath and Bristol. We provide bespoke legal advice and expert court litigation services. We are highly regarded for our strategic and practical approach to family law.
We help families find constructive, positive resolutions to even the most complex of issues. We only want to help you achieve the best possible outcome for the children involved and are experienced at doing so in a way that minimises stress and disruption in everyone’s lives.
As well as our many decades of expertise, we have close connections with a range of other professionals, including child specialists and mental health counsellors. Therefore, we are equipped to support you and your family every step of the way towards a bright and hopeful future.
Independent recognition for our family law expertise includes:
- The Legal 500 - Tier 3 for Family in the South West
- Chambers & Partners – Band 2 for Family/Matrimonial in the South West
- Richard Sharp is personally ranked Band 3 in Chambers & Partners
Our team’s training and professional memberships include:
- Resolution – the professional network for family lawyers committed to taking a non-confrontational approach to family law
- Richard Sharp is a trained collaborative lawyer and family mediator in both the UK and USA. Tina Marshall-Kelliher and Victoria Barnett are trained collaborative lawyers
Read more about our family lawyers’ individual expertise.
How we can help you
We can provide expert advice about securing contact with your grandchildren if it has been restricted after your child’s divorce, dissolution or separation.
Our team of family law solicitors will listen carefully to your concerns and issues and set out your recommended next steps in plain, understandable English. Whether there is an obvious reason for the loss of contact with your grandchildren (such as a family disagreement) or not, it is understandable to feel helpless about the situation.
Many grandparents are unaware of the options they have for re-establishing contact. We can help you explore your options, take action, and seek the best possible outcome for your grandchildren.
Alternative Dispute Resolution for grandparents
In many cases, informal negotiation is the best route to success rather than resorting straight to court. Our family lawyers take a practical but sympathetic approach. We are dedicated to helping families find non-confrontational solutions and safeguarding the happiness and welfare of the children involved. Our aim will be to help you open up a conversation with your child and/or their partner/former partner to try to reach an agreement about contact.
Our team includes qualified collaborative lawyers and an experienced mediator who are specially trained to support and guide families through their issues. Our approach is highly regarded for helping people navigate difficult and emotionally charged issues calmly and in a constructive way. With our assistance, you have a better chance of saving the time, costs and stress of having to go to court.
In some situations, informal negotiation just is not possible, even with the help of a mediator or collaborative lawyer. If you cannot come to an agreement voluntarily, we can provide clear advice about applying to court. The family courts are allowed to make a range of orders in relation to children if it is in each individual child’s best interests. For example:
Child Arrangements Orders
This is the type of order you will need to secure contact with your grandchildren. A CAO can set out where a child should live, who else they should spend time with (such as their other parent and you as their grandparent), and how contact can take place (such as overnight stays, letters, emails and phone calls).
If you believe that is would be in your grandchild’s best interests to live with you rather than the parents, a CAO can also be used to place the child in your care (this used to be known as grandchild custody or grandparent custody, but those terms are no longer used). We can provide detailed advice about your chances of success.
Prohibited Steps Orders
This type of order can stop the child’s parent or someone else with parental responsibility from making a particular decision. They are often used to prevent a parent from permanently moving abroad with the child.
As a grandparent, you will first need to obtain permission to apply for one of these child-related orders from the court. We will break down the process into steps and be completely honest about your prospects for success so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.
Speak to our grandparent rights solicitors in Bristol and Bath
To discuss your rights and options as a grandparent, please contact your local team in Bath or Bristol: