What legal rights do grandparents have in the UK?
Losing contact with a grandchild causes great heartbreak for a grandparent nevertheless almost 1 million grandparents are now in this position, often through no fault of their own. If you are in this unfortunate position don’t despair help is at hand.
It may be that your son or daughter have divorced or separated and the parent left with the main care of the children is not prepared to allow contact between the children and you as part of their ongoing argument with their ex-spouse/partner.
In practice therefore you may have to rely heavily on the goodwill of the parent with care of the child in order to be allowed to see them, otherwise you may be shut out of your grandchild’s life.
Society is increasingly coming to realise what an important role grandparents can play in providing a positive influence on raising grandchildren. Whilst the English law is more equivocal insofar as it does not confer an automatic right on a grandparent to have contact with their grandchild, it nevertheless provides a framework in which grandparents can gain regular and uninterrupted access to their grandchildren.
However going to Court can be expensive both in terms of money, time and heartache. Fortunately there are alternatives such as discussing the issues at around a table with a mediator or lawyer.
The first step is of course one of self-help. You should contact the parent with the main care of the child directly – ideally speaking to them, or writing a brief and polite letter. Please ensure that you make a number of important points:
- How much you are missing the grandchild, and you are sure that your grandchild is missing seeing you too
- How valuable you can be to the family as an emotional and practical resource – even as a free and trustworthy babysitter
- Your grandchild is being prevented from having a relationship with all the extended family members
If unfortunately the parent does not respond positively or does not respond at all then you may have no option but to consider seeking the advice of a Solicitor. This is where Advantage Solicitors can help. For further guidance and assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.
Solicitor, LLB Law (Hons) – Director