When a couple separate, arrangements for the children are a crucial issue. Parents focus upon arrangements between themselves and grandparents are often an afterthought. Side-lined grandparents often seek advice from solicitors about their right to have contact with their grandchildren. In essence, “grandparents’ rights” do not exist.
Grandparents however can apply to the court for a Contact Order, but are not automatically entitled to have their case heard. Unlike parents and guardians, grandparents do not have parental responsibility. In order to apply for a contact order they must first obtain permission to apply.
Under Section 10(9) Children Act 1989, when assessing whether or not to grant permission to apply, the court will consider the following:
- the nature of the proposed application for a contact order;
- the applicant’s connection with the child;
- any risk that there might be of that proposed application disrupting the child’s life and causing psychological harm
If leave to apply is granted then the application for contact itself can be made.
At Bhatia Best we offer grandparents a bespoke range of fixed fees. If you are in receipt of a State Pension Credit guarantee credit you will not have to pay a court fee, which will reduce the cost of the application.
If you are a grandparent concerned about what may happen to your grandchild during a family break up, or if you would like to apply for contact, you should contact one of our Private Children Law Specialists for a free initial consultation.
We also run a Free Drop-in Family Law Clinic at our Nottingham and Derby Offices on Saturday mornings from 9am until 1pm.