Grandparents Rights in the UK
Updated: Aug 19, 2022
What are grandparents' rights to see their grandchildren?
According to the laws of England and Wales, The grandparent does not have any direct legal rights to see the grandchildren.
However, the importance of a grandparent in the life of a child is also recognized by the family courts in the United Kingdom.
So the court can grant permission to the grandparent to see their grandchild in case there is no history of violence, negligence, or abuse.
Grandparents do not automatically have parental responsibility either, however they can obtain it by result of a court order. This means that if the parent won't allow a child see their grandparent, the grandparents will need a court order to get contact.
Can a mother stop grandparents from seeing grandchildren?
Generally, grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren. Thus, in most cases, parents can stop the grandparents from seeing their children in case they want to do so.
However, this does not mean that the grandparents cannot do anything about it.
The grandparent has the right to ask for permission from the family court in case a mother is not agreeing to make arrangements to meet the grandparents and children.
In such cases, the court will also consider what exactly happened between the grandchildren and grandparents that the parent is not allowing her parents to see the child. Considering, that every case is different from one another; the solution of this scenario may differ from case to case.
If a grandparent obtains permission from the court, then it is very unlikely that a parent can stop the grandparents from seeing the grandchildren. It should be noted that it is very rare that the court would not provide permission to the grandparents to make an application. A court order can be obtained under the Children Act (1989).
Can a parent deny a grandparent visitation UK?
Yes, a parent can deny a grandparent visitation in the United Kingdom. However, a grandparent can obtain a court permission order to contact or meet with the grandchild.
Do grandparents have legal responsibility?
No, the grandparents do not have any legal parental responsibility.
Can grandparents go to court for access?
As grandparents do not have any direct legal rights to see their grandchild and if they are not allowed to see their grandchild, then the grandparents can take access in the following ways;
In an informal manner, family-based arrangements made by parents; OR
If both of the above-mentioned ways do not work, then the grandparent can ask the family court for permission and accordingly may apply for a court order to meet their grandchild. Please note that it is necessary to go to Mediation prior to applying for a court order until and unless there is a risk of harm to any of the parties involved, including the child.
In mediation, an independent mediator may help the grandparent to come to an agreement with the parents. In this process, the mediator will set up a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ (MIAM). This meeting will help the parents and grandparents to conclude.
By applying for a court order
Going the legal way to the court should be the last option for anyone, as the legal process is expensive and additionally both emotionally and mentally draining. It can also cause unnecessary conflict. Of course there are also situations where going to court is the only reasonable option, in those such cases, here is a loose outline of how this would happen.
A grandparent must attend a mediation meeting before proceeding to apply for a court order provided there is no case of domestic violence involved, if there is an issue of domestic violence, then Mediation is not necessary. To apply for a court order, the grandparent has to do the following.
Obtain a signed document from mediator confirming you have attended the mediation meeting
Submit this form to the nearest family court
Pay a court fee of £215
What happens next?
The court will look into the matter and decide whether the grandparent can spend time with the grandchild or not.
If yes, what will be the mode of contact as per the interest of the child? For example, the court order may allow the manner of contact as telephone, facetimes or letter only. Also, the court will consider the following aspects while granting the order;
Where the child is currently living
When and with whom the child spends his or her time
What type of contact mode can be decided, whether it is face-to-face contact, telephone, email, letters, etc.
Please note the court will provide its decision considering the best interests of the child.
Can grandparents adopt their grandchild?
Yes, a grandparent can adopt the grandchild legally.
According to the laws in the United Kingdom, anyone can adopt a child regardless of their features such as age, sexuality, gender, race, religious beliefs, and marital status.
However, in the case of adoption the following aspects must be considered to check the suitability;
The age of the adopter must not be less than 21 years of age
The adopter must be a legal resident of the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man for at least a year or 12 months
The adopter does not have a criminal caution or conviction for the offenses against serious sexual or children offenses.
Can grandparents get Parental Responsibility?
Yes, it is possible for a Grandparent to get Parental Responsibility for their Grandchild. This would require a Special Guardianship Order, or a Child Arrangement Order in their favour. For more help with Child Arrangement Orders or Special Guardianship Orders, contact us here.
How we can help you with grandparents' rights?
Our legal team has rich experience and knowledge to assist you in the documentation and paperwork involved in such cases.
Apart from grandparent's rights court orders, we also specialize in various family law matters such as child custody, divorce settlement, domestic violence, etc.
In case you are facing any such issues concerned with family law matters, do not hesitate to contact us. You can read our reviews here. At the bottom of the page, there is a Quick Contact Form, you can fill it out or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 07375757510.
Note: This article is not meant for a piece of legal advice and must not be treated as one.