There are a variety of reasons why grandparents may become excluded from a child’s life, including family disputes and breakdowns in relationships between parents. This article explores the options available for grandparents who wish to spend time with their grandchildren but are being prohibited from doing so.
Grandparents are not afforded any special status by the law. There are a variety of options available to resolve contact matters, such as mediation or arbitration. Resolutions are often best made by agreement. However, this is not always possible and, ultimately, the court’s assistance may be required.
A grandparent will need the permission of the court to apply for an Order. In determining whether permission is granted to advance a case, the court will consider; the nature of the proposed application, the connection of the child to the grandparent and any risks involved. If permission is granted, a grandparent may continue to make a substantive application and the court will consider the welfare of the child or children concerned by referring to the “welfare checklist” contained within Children Act 1989, section 1(3). There are:
- The ascertainable wishes and feeling of the child considered in light of their age and understanding.
- The child’s needs – educational, emotional and physical.
- The likely effect on the child of any change in circumstances.
- The age, sex and any relevant characteristics of the child.
- Any harm the child is suffering or at risk of suffering.
- The capability of adults of meeting the child’s needs.
At Rosewood Solicitors, we are able to advise you as to the best method to resolve your legal issue so that your grandchild can enjoy spending time with you. Where court proceedings are necessary, we offer advise as to whether the court will grant permission and the likely Orders the court would make based on our assessment of the above “welfare checklist”. If you would like further advice, contact our Family Team on 01483 901 414 to book your free telephone consultation.