What rights do grandparents have to see their grandchildren?

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The other morning, as I sat in bed with my 9 month old daughter having a cuddle before I prepared to get up for work, I watched as BBC Breakfast ran a report covering grandparents rights to see their grandchildren.

Since this was broadcast a quick glance at Twitter shows there have been a number of tweets on the subject and so I thought it may be helpful to summarise the current position for grandparents.

Do grandparents have “rights” to see their grandchildren?

Where one parent is denied “access” to a child by another parent then they can apply for a Child Arrangements Order to regulate how the child’s time is spent.

However, grandparents are not automatically entitled to apply for a Child Arrangements Order. Before a grandparent can apply for a Child Arrangements Order they must obtain the permission of the Court.
When deciding whether the grandparent should be given permission the Court will have particular regard to:

1. The nature of the proposed application that the grandparent wishes to make.
2. Their connection with the child.
3. Any risk there might be of the proposed application disrupting the child’s life to such an extent that it would harm the child.

However, the above list is not exhaustive and the court may take into account any other factors they deem relevant.

How does this effect a grandparents ability to see their grandchildren?

In real terms the requirement that grandparents obtain the permission of the Court is designed as a filter to protect the child and their family against unnecessary interference. The fainter the grandparent’s connection to the child the more difficult it is likely to be to get permission to make an application.

So where does that leave a grandparent?

Inevitably, any application involving children is always fraught with emotion and each situation is different.

Speaking personally, both my parents and my wife’s parents provide invaluable care for my daughter and I am sure they will do so going forwards. Does my experience change my view? No. I think grandparents should have to ask the court if they can take that step of applying for a Child Arrangements Order. As I said, it acts as a filter. It’s “judicial gatekeeping” to make sure a potentially long, emotional and possibly costly process should be embarked upon.

You might disagree with me. In my firm we see the damage that court applications involving children cause to families. If the applications without merit can be kicked into the long grass before they start then that is likely to be better for the child. The law does not impose an absolute bar on grandparents making an application; it just requires it to be assessed first.

Quite often there are historic family issues which are at the root of the issue. Lawyers and court’s can’t help with these issues. Families need to help themselves and need to want to do so.

At Family Law Partners, we are firmly of the view it is preferable for disputes to be resolved without going to Court at all. Mediation can be a really useful mechanism of helping parties resolving disputes and working towards an agreed outcome. It can lead to practical arrangements which are better suited to the parties, and more importantly the child, than arrangements which are imposed by the Court. Get a Family Consultant involved from an early stage and who knows what the value can be to the family and the child’s welfare (which is what any court process has to focus on).

I’m going to set a Family Consultant we use, Kim Crewe, a challenge. Kim, what value can you bring to a process where grandparents are not seeing their grandchildren, what issues do you see this raises and how can you help the family and most importantly, the child at the centre of the issue?

65 responses on “What rights do grandparents have to see their grandchildren?

  1. Hi I’ve tryed and asked my son if me and he’s step dad can have a day to bond with our 6 month granddaughter and have been told her mum isn’t really to leave her . The nuns grandma sees the granddaughter daily even babysat for a few hours we are feeling very unfairly treated . Whot can we do to get to see our granddaughter this is very upsetting for me it’s my first grandchild and all I want to do is be in her life tried talking to my son but no joy any advice please thanks x

    1. Thank you for your comment. It must be difficult for you if you feel that your granddaughter?s other grandparents have a more significant role in her life than you and your husband. The first thing I would urge you to do is speak to her parents again, try to include your granddaughter?s mum in the conversation as well as your son. If you have no luck then you could consider applying to the court for permission to make a child arrangements order requiring your son and granddaughter?s mum to make your granddaughter available to spend time with you. I would urge you to consider this a last resort as it could destroy your current relationship with your son. Also bear in mind that whilst the court may consider it positive for your granddaughter to have both sets of grandparents in her life, this will not necessarily extend to the right to take her out for days without her parents.

      You may want to consider involving a Family Consultant who could help the family as a whole and for trust and support to be built up in time. I wish you luck.

  2. The mother of my grandchild has stopped me from seeing him, he is six months old. The reason why she has stopped all contact with him is because she started taking drugs and blames me for putting my grandchild at risk by contacting social services. do you believe that if I apply for permission to take her to court in order to see my grandchild It would be granted . There was a safeguarding issue and I could not ignore the fact that his mother was neglecting him.

    1. Dear Laura. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate that it must be very upsetting for you not to be able to spend time with your Grandchild. As you will appreciate, each situation is unique and therefore it is impossible to advise without a full understanding of the circumstances of the case. It is clear that you have had some concerns in the past and so I would suggest that you seek advice from a Resolution family lawyer who can explore the individual circumstances of your case with you in detail and advise you upon the options available to you. However, I would just note that where possible we would suggest trying to avoid issuing Court proceedings. Sadly this is not always possible, but the effect of issuing Court proceedings can entrench people?s positions and make it more difficult to work together in the future. It may be worth considering exploring whether other options may be more appropriate in your circumstances such as mediation or involving a family consultant. If we can assist further please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  3. My son and his girlfriend separated 18months ago under very hostile circumstances. My grandson is nearly 4 and he has been part of my life since he was 15 days old. He has stayed with me overnight every week at least once if not twice. Since they have been separated it has been every weekend from Friday until Sunday but then sometimes extends to Tuesday depending on whether the mother wants my grandson back on the Sunday. My son has already been to court but she has broken the court order on numerous occasions. My grandsons mother doesn’t work but I do and my son does and she doesn’t realise the impact of one of us not being able to go to work has on us. She regularly stops us seeing my grandson for weeks on end if we don’t do want she wants or my son does something she doesn’t like. She doesn’t want me babysitting for my grandson so that my son can go out of a weekend. I have now decided to try and go to court to arrange my own contact order. I have tried contacting her mum and have now exhausted every avenue. I just want to maintain my relationship with my grandson.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that it must be very difficult for you and your desire to maintain a relationship with your grandson. It appears that your son has already been through court proceedings and, from what you have indicated, your grandson?s mother is already breaching the existing order. Therefore, it will be important to reflect upon the likelihood of your grandson?s mother adhering to a Child Arrangements Order that you may obtain.

      I appreciate that you have been a large part of your grandson?s life however, it may be better for your son to pursue enforcement of the child arrangements order he already has in place at this stage so that you can see your grandson when he spends time with your son. I suspect a court is likely to be more receptive to this as it is very important that the relationship between your grandson and his father is supported and maintained as much as possible. In the meantime, I would suggest that you keep a diary of the time that you and your son spend with your grandson and any times when you are prevented from doing so. It would be advisable for you to contact a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution so they can advise you upon your particular circumstances. If you would like us to assist you please get in touch.

  4. Hi

    My grandparents are taking me to court to apply for a Child Arrangements Order. However me and my wife do not want them to have any contact due to there behaviour to my children when we lived in the family home. The children have said to us that they do not want to see them, the youngest bust into tears when we asked if she wanted to see them due to physical and mental abuse she suffered (she is now 10). Can the children make a statement to a solicitor saying they do not want to have any contact?

    1. Thank you for your comment. If Children Act proceedings are issued (following permission of the court for the grandparents to make the application) then in the majority of cases I would expect that the court would order a report be produced by CAFCASSto ascertain the children?s wishes and feelings. CAFCASS are the body that advise the court as to what they believe is in the best interests of the child. As part of this, CAFCASS often meet with the children. The extent to which the court takes into account the wishes and feelings of the child depends upon the individual circumstances of that case. In the event that your children do get the opportunity of speaking to CAFCASS it is very important that you do not influence your children as to what they might say as potentially this could have a negative impact on your case.

  5. Hi

    My kids grandparents are taking me to court for access to them but she does have access to them, they go over now and then to stay n visit, but she wants them with her every weekend or every sec weekend. Is she allowed that?

    1. Thank you for your comment and for taking time to read our blog post. Your children?s grandparents are able to make an application to the court, but to advance an application they need to get the court?s permission (for what is called a child arrangements order eg for the grandchildren to see them ? this has been called access and contact in the past but the language has changed and the emphasis is on the child?s right rather than the grandparents: in short the court always have the welfare of a child as its paramount consideration). When deciding whether to give grandparent?s permission the court will consider:

      1. The nature of the proposed application that the grandparent wishes to make eg for their grandchildren to see them.
      2. Any risk there might be that an application might disrupt the grandchild?s life to such an extent that it would cause some harm (eg physical/emotional).

      Whether your children?s grandparents would get the court?s approval to proceed and then make their application would depend upon your specific circumstances. I would recommend this be looked at in detail and suggest that you seek advice from a Resolution family lawyer who can look at matters in detail for you and advise on the best approach.

      May I suggest you have a look at what is known as the welfare checklist under the Children Act. If you require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

  6. Hi
    My parents took in to court in 2015 to try and get access to my children, we went to court several times and in the end they were not successful.
    We were given a 2 year court order preventing them contacting us or contacting anybody to cause us any distress.
    They have never had any contact with my children as my relationship broke down with them when I found out I was pregnant so they’ve never had any bond with either of my children.
    Now the court order has ended I am worried that they will try and take us back to court again.
    How likely is it that the court will consider contact?

    1. Thank you for your comment. In the event that an application is made, the Court will consider the specific circumstances of your situation and will prioritise what they feel is in your children?s best interests. However, before your parents would be able to advance an application they would need the court?s permission at which point the court would consider:

      1. The nature of the proposed application that your parent?s wish to make.
      2. Their connection with your children.
      3. Any risk there might be of the proposed application disrupting your children?s life to such an extent that it would harm your children.

      This is designed to act as a filter to protect children from unnecessary interference. Whether your children?s grandparents would get the court?s approval to proceed and then make their application would depend upon your specific circumstances. If your parents do make an application then I would strongly suggest that you obtain legal advice from a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution who will be able to advise you on the best approach.

  7. My partner has 4 year old twin sons with his late wife who died almost 3 years ago. The children have a strong relationship with their maternal grandparents but we live an hour way in a busy city and the children have recently started primary school. My partner recently received a solicitor’s letter (out of the blue) requesting alternate weekend access. This is simply not possible for a number of reasons, not least the children have other commitments, social and sporting activities and homework at the weekend plus we want to spend time as a family. We do want the grandparents to spend time with the children, however we believe they should see the children as and when it suits the children and us (and when the grandparents are available). We cannot agree to fixed dates and don’t agree that the children should stay with the grandparents for the entire weekend at their home address, when they do stay, it should be 1 night maximum as they don’t sleep well when they are there. The grandparents are welcome to take the children out of lunch or to the park when they can’t stay at their home. Their solicitor has threatened legal action to ensure the grandparents get what they want, but as far as we can see, they can see the children – we’re not objecting to that, we just cannot fix the dates or restrict the childrens’ lives (or ours for that matter). What rights do they have? Can they force us to agree to fixed dates? How could we ever move away for job purposes etc if we have to share the children/agree dates. This is not a custody battle between divorced parents, can grandparents really force this upon us? Thanks for your response.

    1. Thank you for your comment. This must be a really challenging time for you and your partner. Before the children?s grandparents are able to issue a Child Arrangements Order (which regulates how the children?s time is spent) they must obtain the permission of the court.

      The factors that the court will consider when deciding this are set out in more detail within my blog however, I would urge you to seek advice from a Resolution family lawyer who can explore the individual circumstances of your case with you in detail and advise you upon the options available to you.

      It may be worth considering exploring whether other options may be more appropriate in your circumstances such as mediation or involving a family consultant. If we can assist further please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  8. My daughter,s 3 young children have being taken into care,,
    Her Mum as put her self forward for an assement to have the childern ,
    I have put my self forward as well and also had an assement ,
    I seperated from my daughters Mum 30 yrs ago ,we now both have are own familys .
    My dauther needs help with her mental health hence why the children have being taken ,
    These assessment s were done 10 months ago,I got mine the other day .to find out its come back negative .I want to call a hault to the porceedings so I can seek some legal advice with regaurds to this neagtive report which I have very strong evidence which proves social services have lied on the report.
    Social service have given me 1 week,to reply Can I get these proceedings haulted on the grounds of this report which I should 10 months ago ?

    1. Thank you for your comment Steve, I am sorry to hear that your family is experiencing such a difficult time. In these cases the court is required by law to avoid delay in the timetable so I encourage you to contact a Resoution specialist solicitor who has Law Society Children Panel accreditation as a matter of urgency and before the 7 day deadline you have been set. I wish you all the best.

  9. Our daughter has recently got married and we didn’t attend the wedding. Our daughter is now not allowing us to see our 2 grandchildren (one from a previous relationship) We have contacted her on numerous occasions and she does not reply. Not only has she stopped us from seeing them but the rest of our family. ( aunties and uncle). The children have always been a part of our lives and we have holidayed as a family on numerous occasions. Where do we stand? The father of one of the children is reluctant to bring our granddaughter around when he has her as this may affect access as he has been warned by my daughter not to allow this. What can we do?

    1. Thank you for your comment. As you will appreciate, each families circumstances are unique and as such I would not be able to advise you without more information regarding your particular situation. Potentially you may wish to seek the permission of the court to bring an application for a Child Arrangements Order. This would regulate the day to day care of your grandchildren and can include provision for them to spend time with you. However, I would urge you to consider this a last resort as it is likely to further strain your relationship with your daughter. In the first instance you may wish to consider exploring whether alternatives, such as involving a family consultant who may be able to help communication between you and your daughter, may be preferable.

  10. Hi I was carer for my grandson for 16 months applied for sgo that was turned down so he was placed with his auntie that he did not want to go with and told social workers this but as he was iust under four he does not have a voice,they wanted me to go to his auntie house play with him settle him to bed then leave and do this for ten days,I said no as it was mental abuse and Unfair for my grandson as he did not want to leave me,as I was unwilling to put my grandson through that I was told by social worker I would not have contact with him,I have not seen him since November I spoke to him Christmas eve and he asked when he could come back home to see me.I am so desperate to see my grandson but also scared as I don’t want to upset him I don’t know what to do,

    1. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate that this must be very upsetting for you. I am assuming that there have been court proceedings as you have referred to having applied for a Special Guardianship Order which appears to have been refused and your grandson is living with his Auntie. In those circumstances, I am unable to provide you with specific advice. I would recommend that seek advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution who can meet with you, review any orders that were made previously (together with any reports that were produced) and then advise you.

  11. My ex partners parents are taking me to court to have contact with there grandchild, my ex partner was arrested for domestic abuse in which my 7year old witnessed. This has and still has an impact on my daughters life, she is very frightened of her father contact centres have not worked although cafcas keep making the recommendation. CAMHS are now involed as my daughters mental health is suffering thanks to cafcas . The grandparents since the incident have never contacted myself to even ask about there grandchild let alone see her. Its been 14 months now. What rights do they have to demand contact. My daughter also does not want to see them. They never had a close relationship with my daughter never took her out or had over night stays. They would pop into see there son spend time talking to him then leave bang on an hour. Personally I think they are doing this so there son can get indirect contact with his daughter.

    1. Thank you for your comment. In the first instance your ex-partner’s parents will need the permission of the court to make an application. When deciding this the court will consider:

      1. The nature of the proposed application that the grandparent wishes to make.
      2. Their connection with the child.
      3. Any risk there might be of the proposed application disrupting the child?s life to such an extent that it would harm the child.

      If your ex-partner?s parents are successful the court will then consider what it believes to be in your daughter?s best interests based upon your circumstances. This is always fact specific and so I would strongly suggest that you seek advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution who will be able to consider your circumstances in more detail and advise you. If we can help on a more formal basis please get in touch.

  12. We’ve had our grandaughter every other night from birth to 1 Yr and then twice a week and most weekends since then. From June she has lived with us and her mum. Her mum went awol 4 weeks ago leaving grandaughter wirh us. We have looked after grandaughter most days since June also as mother isn’t capable. Mother has now left home since Xmas day leaving her daughter with us. Today, we dropped grandaughter at her dads for a visit and was told we weren’t getting her back! We don’t have parental rights and because we involved social services a coupke of months ago because of our daughters behaviour and lack of care for our grandaughter, she has now agreed we found out this week, that grandaughters dad will have her. He sleeps in a 10×8 garden shed as there’s no room in his dad’s house for them. Social services have said it’s not ideal but said it’s ok! What can we do?

    1. Thank you for your comment at what must be an incredibly difficult time for you. Assuming that you want to care for your granddaughter, if your granddaughter?s mother and father will not agree to this, your only option is to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order through the court. However, you will first need the permission of the court (which is set out in more detail in the blog itself). If you are successful in persuading the court to grant you permission then the court will consider what it believes to be your granddaughter?s best interests. Given that you have indicated that this took place today I would strongly suggest that you seek advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as a matter of urgency. If we can help on a more formal basis please get in touch.

  13. Our grandson is now 11 and we have been actively involved in his life since birth, every year taking him away on weekends and annual holidays. Our son and his wife had a very acrimonious divorce in 2010. Our son was granted a shared residency order with his son to stay with him alternate weekends plus one night a week i.e. he is the ?non-resident? parent. We continued to see our grandson quite regularly throughout this time on our son?s weekends.
    In 2014 (without consulting our son) his ex-wife and partner decided to move some 150 miles away, thus preventing our son?s weekly overnight stay and also the alternate Sunday overnight stay. The alternate weekends with our son & new wife has continued but with a 300 mile round trip drive on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. We do not want to encroach on the alternate Saturday?s he has with his son. Our relationship with our son is a good one and we do the Friday pick up drive for him once a term.
    For the last three years we have asked the ex-wife for two or three of her weekends in order to take our grandson away with us in our caravan ? which he loves, and this has been granted.
    This year however we have been told they have ?no free weekends? in 2018.
    Is there legally anything we can do?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that this must be very upsetting for you. Potentially you could consider whether to apply to the court for permission to make an application for a child arrangements order to define the time that your grandson spends with you . However, this should be a last resort and you should seek advice from a family lawyer who is a member of resolution before doing so. I suspect your grandson?s mother wants to be able to spend time with her son during the weekends he is with her as midweek time is dominated by school etc. She may also suggest that your son is able to facilitate you spending time with your grandson when he is with him. Perhaps a compromise might be that your grandson spends time with you during the school holidays for example. In the circumstances I would recommend that you ask your grandson?s mother whether she would be willing to discuss the arrangements with you with the help of a mediator or family consultant with a court application being the last resort. If we can help on a more formal basis please do get in touch.

  14. Hi just wondering how the applying for court order works, surely they can?t just take the grandparents words for it and actually grant the right for them to go to court? Do they contact the parents to see why it has came to it? Grand parent never really saw my son he?s 5 months and cries when he sees them… going to court seems pointless as my son don?t no her and cannot be without me as he would just cry so I?m worried that they will get a day without me being there and my son will be in bits!

    1. Dear Shelley. Thank you for your comment. I would normally expect the person against whom an application is made to have the opportunity to reply before any final decision is made. Your son?s grandparents would first have to obtain the permission of the court before they can proceed with an application for a child arrangements order (which governs day to day arrangements for the children). The parents of the child and anyone who has parental responsibility will be made aware of any application. Before the court makes a decision about any arrangements involving a child they will take into account a number of factors which are referred to in my blog as well as the Welfare Checklist which you will find in our factsheet ?Arrangements for the children following relationship breakdown?.

  15. My daughter seperated from the grandchildrens father some 3 years ago.She moved on and began a relationship with her now partner.During this time there has been a big family argument involving an aunt of mine and several cousins where by they began some sort of slander towards me on social media alledging that i have said this and that (which i haven’t) and each time the verbalk abuse was reported to the social media admins who in turn told me that it was a police matter and i should seek police help.During all of this abuse my daughter took sides with this “aunt ” and the rest of the followers and distanced herself from me denying contact with my grandchildren,limiting to very short visits twice in 8 months one conveniently to collect xmas presents cards etc from myself,my parents and other members of the family.The aunt has recently passed away and now my daughter has denied me phone calls to my grandchildren,and refusing to answer questions to what i have done.Since i have always been in contact from birth of the grandchildren it is slowly killing me not being able to even speak to the grandchildren yet alone not seeing them.I also have grave concerns about what is happening from the step parent in my grandchildrens lives because the mear mention of i’m telling X about you the grandson starts to shake and beg you not to tell person X, which i feel is not healthy.The grandaughter has on more than one occassion declared that she want s to reside with the biological father.I am at my wits end as what to do regarding not seeing my grandchildren and also their behaviour regarding X your input on what route to take with regards to this would be most helpful.

    1. Dear Christine. Thank you for your comment. I am sure this has been a very stressful time for you. In the first instance I would suggest that you may want to consider whether your daughter would be willing to attend mediation or a meeting with a Family Consultant to discuss arrangements for the children to be able to spend some time with you. If your daughter is unwilling to attend then you may need to consider issuing an application with the court for permission to apply for a child arrangements order. However, I would strongly suggest that before doing so you seek advice from a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution.

  16. Thank you for the response.I think the best route would be to try mediation how would i go along this route ? I am so distressed with things at the moment she refuses to speak or answer to what i have done wrong.

  17. I have been in my Granddaughter’s life from the moment she was born. My Daughter has mental health issues and has depended on me to have my Granddaughter overnight whenever she feels she can’t cope. I have spent more time bringing my granddaughter up than my Daughter has and we have an incredibly strong bond.

    My Daughter has now fallen out with me and is refusing to allow me to see my granddaughter who is now nearly 8 months old.

    I am very concerned about my Granddaughter as my Daughter now has no support when she feels she can’t cope. She lost custody of my Grandson who is living with his Father as she wasn’t coping and turned to drugs and prostitution. Because of this, my Granddaughter was on a child protection order from the moment she was born until they decided she was not at risk, mainly due to my support and the fact that I was living with my Daughter at the time.

    Is it possible for me to apply for custody of my Granddaughter?

    1. Thank you for your comment. This must be an incredibly distressing and worrying time for you. It may be possible for you to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order or potentially a Special Guardianship Order. However, I would strongly suggest that you obtain urgent legal advice from a lawyer who is a member of Resolution and will be able to advise you upon what would be most appropriate in your circumstances.

  18. Hi. My ex partner refuses my 8yr old to have anything to do with my mother. She claims my mum is a drug dealer and the house is not fit to live in let alone my son go there. She has had a hold up with my mum since they had a few words one day when my son was 6mth old. My mum has been out of my sons life at the request of her and its tearing my mum apart. The allegations are all false. The only thing against my mum is she smokes (rarely and outdoors) and if I had any concerns I would not leave my son with new partner there. My mum is not allowed to come see my Son even at my house. My ex wants no interaction between the 2 of them ever. I’m even expected to leave my shopping if I see my mum in the same supermarket so they don’t see each other. My mum has never posed a threat and would be the first to intervene if there were any issues. My ex has now stopped me seeing my son for the past 6 months and have just gone to mediation in order to try settle this and even the mediator backed me into a corner into agreeing no contact between my mum and son. My son would like to know my side of the family but she refuses this. I have been to a lawyer who was little to no help. And mediation seems to be against me. What can I do?

    1. Thank you for your comment. This is clearly a really difficult and upsetting situation for you and it would appear that you have explored mediation without success and taken advice from a solicitor. I?m sorry but we are unable to provide specific advice within this forum. We would need to understand the background to your circumstances in more detail. Potentially, your mother could make her own application to the court for an order that her grandson is able to spend time with her. You will have read in the blog how that might be dealt with by the court should she wish to seek judicial input. In the meantime it is important that your son is able to spend time with you and if this is not happening you should consider seeking further advice from a specialist family lawyer as to your options going forward.

  19. Hello,

    My three children do not see their paternal grandparents. The youngest is 17 months and saw them once (at a party, no actual contact), my middle one is 3 and has probably seen them 6 times. My oldest is 4 and has maybe seen them 10 times.

    Relationships broke despite our many many attempts to resolve them. They present as very kind well-meaning individuals, which is why we tried so hard to resolve the situation. However, they’re passive aggressive bullies, they told their son not to marry me (I didn’t know this – I wouldn’t have put all the effort in if I had known), they belittled my religion as its not theirs, they said “oops” when i fell pregnant a week before our wedding, and they have admitted they still wish my husband and I were not together.

    My husband has similar examples from growing up with them, perhaps the most significant being that they refused to seek assistance for his tourettes due to the stigma.

    I don’t want my children exposed to people who are highly likely to make such remarks to my children. Who never made the effort to get to know them anyway.

    However, they are all about appearances, and it looks bad on them to admit that they have grandchildren they never see.

    Do they stand a chance?

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am afraid that I am unable to provide you with specific advice. In the first instance, your husband?s parents would need the permission of the court and the court would consider:

      1. The nature of the proposed application that the grandparent wishes to make.
      2. Their connection with the children.
      3. Any risk there might be of the proposed application disrupting the children?s life to such an extent that it would harm the children.

      If your husband?s parents are successful the court will then consider what it believes to be in your children?s best interests based upon your circumstances. This is always fact specific and so, if an application is made, I would strongly suggest that you seek advice from a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution who will be able to consider your circumstances in more detail and advise you. If we can help on a more formal basis please get in touch.

  20. Hi, my ex husband is not allowed contact with my children and after court i was granted full custody. His parents wish to take the children on outings and for sleep over. Even though they influence the children I actually don’t mind that they have them but my only request is that they get official documebtarion from the court to state they won’t allow the father to see them and they will take full responsibility over them. I’m not sure what I can or can’t request off them but I’m trying to do things legitimately. Your advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I understand your concerns. There are various options as to how you could deal with this issue but given that there appears to have already been court proceedings I would recommend that you seek advice from a Resolution lawyer as soon as possible.

  21. Hi iv only seen my granddaughter once she is 6 months old iv hot permission from the court the reason iv not been aloud is the mum doesn’t like me I have tryed mediation but she refused I’m in court on the 16th August can you give me advice please what will happen next happen next

    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that this must be a very worrying time for you however, I am afraid that I cannot advise you as to what is likely to happen next in your case in this forum as this will depend upon the individual circumstances of your case. I would strongly advise that you seek advice from a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution who will be able to advise you on your particular circumstances.

  22. Hi my ex partners mum took me to court in 2015 to gain access to my 18 month old daughter at the time without me present, I agreed at the first hearing that my daughter could go with her dad for the 2 hours a month she requested as we don’t get on and i was tired of being bullied by her plus she isn’t a very nice person to deal with. Me and my ex broke up and I discovered I was pregnant and went through the whole pregnancy alone and birth as we not together and he wasn’t interested. He isn’t on the birth certificate and doesn’t want to be, however his mum emailed me asking for contact with her ‘new granddaughter’ it just isn’t going to work this time as contact alone again means she can name call me infront of another one of my children. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t work and i would rather take a molestation order out to prevent anymore emotional abuse. Would this be possible?

    1. Thank you for your comment. There is no obligation on you to agree to your ex partner?s mother having contact with your youngest daughter. If you do not agree then she may make an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order as she did with your elder daughter. As a grandmother, she does not have an automatic right to apply to the Court. She would need to apply for permission to apply in the first instance. Assuming she obtained permission and you could not then reach an agreement about contact, the Court would list the case for a final hearing for a Judge to decide what, if any, contact she should have. If she is already having contact with your older daughter then the court may deem that it is in your youngest child?s interests to also have contact with her grandmother.

      In order to obtain a Non Molestation Order you would need to be able to establish that there has been some form of domestic abuse. More information would be needed about you ex partner?s mother?s behaviour in order to accurately advise you about this. A more appropriate course of action might be for you to apply to the Court to discharge the existing Order for your elder daughter to have contact with her grandmother if you do not believe that the current contact arrangements are in your daughter?s best interests. Again, more information would be needed about your specific circumstances before we could advise you about whether such an application would be likely to be successful. Please do contact me if I can assist.

  23. Hi, my dad in law had an affair last year and left home. Because of his behaviour towards me and my mum in law, I did not want him to see my son (he is one year old now). My husband was not happy about that. After a lot of argument between us, I finally agreed to let my son see his granddad; however, I do not agree to let his grandad’s new partner see my son. I feel very uncomfortable if I let my son see his new partner. My question is if I have a right to avoid my son from seeing her, and how I can stop that happens. My husband accepts his dad’s new partner and he is fine to let my son to see her. My son had not seen his grandad since he left 5 months ago, therefore last time they met, my son cried a lot as he no longer knows his grandad.

    1. Thank you for your comment. It would appear from your comment that you and your husband have very different views regarding this. I would suggest that you may wish to consider working with a family consultant so that you and your husband can discuss matters and agree a way forwards so that you can provide a consistent message for your son.

  24. Help advice needed please. My daughter has always lived with me even when she became a mum. She split with the baby dad before he was born and went on to have another child.
    In September this year she walk out after meeting a male on line taking her children with her. Iv not seen my grandchildren since she walk out and been advised she refusing to let me see them. There 7 and 5 years old and have always lived with me.
    Any advice please I’d be great full.
    Iv already contacted my local law centre to try and see a lawyer for advice to be told today. That the one they had arranged for me to see tonight could no longer see me due to conflict of interest so now I’m left unsure where to turn or what to do next

    1. Thank you for your comment. This must be an incredibly distressing time for you. As you will appreciate, every family’s circumstances are different and so we are unable to provide specific advice within this forum. Depending upon the reasons why your daughter is not allowing your grandchildren to spend time with you, you may wish to suggest seeing a family consultant or mediator to help build communication between you and to see whether you might be able to resolve your differences for the sake of the children. You can find details of family consultants and mediators through Resolution. If your suggestion is unsuccessful then you may need to consider making an application to the court for permission to start proceedings.

  25. Hi. If grandparents and father (separated from the childs mother) both turn up to collect child from the nursery who has the right to take the child? This happened to my son and the grandfather got violent and threatened my son, blocked his way and tried to grab the child! disgraceful behaviour, who does this? All very upsetting and unnecessary. Please advise?

  26. Hi I’m paternal grandma and my son was violent to babys mum which he was imprisoned for along with taking cannabis. Social services were involved as mum and dad carried on their relationship and eventually my son was allowed unsupervised visits as well as overnight at my home. Both parties started new relationships and very shortly after whilst mum was at my home she and my son argued as she’s stopped contact for my son and he was questioning her why when she answered take me to court he was so upset at not getting anywhere with her he pushed her and from that moment on has refused contact on my sons part. I contacted social services and they told me my son could see his child and they had no reason to stop him but if mum didn’t want the contact to go ahead my son would inevitably have to go to court. I have continued my own contact and overnight stays etc, my son called for around 15 mins not knowing I had my grandson baby’s mum found out and stopped my contact. She told me if he comes again whilst I have grandson that’s the last time I will see my grandson as social services say my son cannot see him.. I don’t know what to do for the best as I want to stay on relatively good terms with mum but don’t want to lose grandson but don’t want to fall out with my son either… can you help please

    1. Thank you for your comment. It sounds like you are in a very difficult position. I am afraid that I am unable to provide specific advice within this forum as we would need more information regarding your circumstances. I would recommend that you seek specialist legal advice from a professional who is a member of Resolution and is therefore committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes and follows a Code of Practice which promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. A list of members can be found here.

  27. My Daughter and her partner have totally banned me from meeting my Grandson, I have never seen him or met him at all, He will be about 7 year old now.
    I haven’t seen my daughter in the same amount of time. I don’t even know where they are living.
    Am I entitled to make any effort to legally challenge this. I would dearly like to meet him and be a part of his life.

    1. Thank you for your comment. There is the option, as a grandparent, to make an application to the court for permission to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order. However, before making any application to the court I would strongly suggest that you look at non-court alternatives and consider whether your daughter and her partner would be willing to meet with you and a family consultant or mediator to try and improve communication with a view to reaching an agreement.

  28. Hello,

    I’ve not been in contact with my parents for over 5 years. I wish never to have contact with them again. They were mentally & physically abusive towards me & my husband. They’re are both narcissistic. I recently gave birth to our son just after me & my husband married.

    We both would never want to expose our child to them. It would quite frankly be dangerous. We are worried one day they will find out we have had a child and try to gain access. Realistically how likely would that be? If we both demonstrated how crazy they are. They were unfit raising me.

    Thanks

    1. Thank you for your comment. I am afraid I cannot provide case specific advice however, your parents would first need to make an application to the court for permission to apply for a child arrangements order. One of the criteria a court will have regard to is the grandparents? connection with the child. If an application is made then I would suggest that you seek advice from a family law solicitor who is a member of Resolution.

  29. Hi can the the father of my children?s mother take me to court for visitation rights if her son is not on my children?s birth certificate and we were never married? Wouldn?t the courts have to proof that he was the father before she could go to the courts?

    1. Thank you for your comment. The court does not require ?proof? at the time an application is made. In the event that this becomes an issue I would suggest that you seek advice from a family law solicitor who is a member of Resolution.

  30. Hi I’ve had a domestic violence issue with my daughters father and hes currently in prison .. hes applied for a child arrangment order and cafcass have rang me and told me him and his parents are high risk to my daughter. Then today I’ve recieved a mediation letter off his mam. Can you advise me on what I should do theyve caused alot of bother for me by withholding my daughters birth certificates, causing trouble asking me to withdraw my statements to the police, harassing me.

    1. Thank you for your comment Kirsty. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide specific advice within this blog and would suggest that you contact a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution in order to obtain advice about your specific circumstances. Whether you choose to take part in mediation at this stage is your decision. Mediation is a voluntary process and as such if you do not wish to engage with it you do not have to. From what you have said you have legitimate reasons for being, understandably, cautious about it. Whilst we are big supporters of mediation, it is not appropriate in every case.

  31. Hi I really hope you can help me my son and girlfr6split up before she had their first child, my first grandson, I’m told I can only see my grandson for 10 minutes a week if that, by her and shes trying her best to take that away from me also his uncles have yet to meet him and hes nearly 3 weeks old, I’m heartbroken, what can I do

    1. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it must be very upsetting for you not to be able to spend time with your grandchild however, it would appear that your grandson is only a few weeks old so you are at very early stages. If communication is difficult with your grandson?s mother then are you able to spend time with him when your son is caring for him? Alternatively, you may wish to consider asking your grandson?s mother if she is willing to meet with a family consultant as a gateway to improve communication between you. If this is not an option then you can ask the court for permission to make an application for a child arrangements order as set out in my blog. However, this should be the last resort and I would strongly suggest you speak with a family lawyer who is a member of resolution before taking this step.

  32. Hi , my sons mother in law sees her grandson from Sunday to Wednesday morning every week. But during the coronavirus lock down, he has kept him with him . And after the first 2 weeks of lock down, she started complaining about not seeing her grandson. But my son explained to her that it was only because of the lock down that she couldn’t have him . So she now has got a solicitor. My son received a letter from her solicitor, saying if she wasn’t allowed to have her grandson, then she was taking it to court. He received a letter to arrange mediation with her but then she refused to go . She as been face timing her grandson through this lock down. Now she is back having him from Sunday to Wednesday morning but she’s still not happy and is taking it to court to get more access. The mother of the child was seen as unfit to have her children and my son as legal custody. She also has another older son that she had before meeting my son and my son got residency over him also. But he preferred to stay with his grandmother and just visit my son, who is his step dad . The older son is autistic and likes his routine with his grandma. Due to her having him most of the time before my son met her daughter. So my sons biological son gets to see his older brother when he visits his grandma. She as been able to take them on holiday for 3 weeks at a time in the summer holidays. To go to california to see other family members. And an extra week later in the year to go to centre park . But shes still not happy and is wanting her grandson 4 days a week, so my son will only have him 3 times a week. Its making my son poorly because he already suffers with depression due to been in a violent relationship with his ex . She can only have supervised visits with her sons . When my son split up with her she went into another relationship and had a third son , who now lives with his dad . Its taken a long time for my son to get over the situation he had with his ex and this is just bringing it all back. I don’t think he his been unreasonable about his mother in law , considering how much time she gets to spend with her grandson. And she doesn’t even take into consideration that i would like to spend time with my grandson as well. I just don’t want to take the time my son has with him because its very little when hes working and his son is in full-time school. I don’t want to start nagging him because it will only put added pressure on him. He can’t sleep or eat properly with worrying about going to court and the added expense and scared he’s not going to have his son as much. I just don’t know what to say to him to stop him worrying and making himself poorly. Because his mother in law is taking him to court. He seems to think, just because his mother in law has a lot of money, that she will get her own way in court because she can afford a better solicitor. Please help x

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sandra. I appreciate that this must be a really distressing time for you and your son. However, I am afraid we cannot advise on specific cases within this forum. I would strongly recommend that your son seeks advice from a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution as soon as possible.

  33. Hi there,

    My sister Is pregnant with her first child. Our father has not been in our lives since we were children. He was an abusive father and tried to get custody of us and told us as children it was to hurt our mum. When this child is born, I know he will find out but i am unsure how he will handle this. Would he be able to fight to see his grandchild If he hasn’t been in our lives since we were 10? Any advice would be great. Thank you.

    1. Dear Alex, thank you for getting in touch. Your father does not possess an automatic legal right to see his grandchild but after exhausting other options, he may wish to apply to the court for a Child Arrangements Order. Generally, only people with Parental Responsibility (which grandparents do not have automatically) can apply for a Child Arrangements Order. However, grandparents can apply for ‘permission’ to apply for a Child Arrangements Order without needing parental responsibility.

      A child arrangements order will decide where a child shall live and with whom they shall spend time.

      When assessing whether your father should be granted permission to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order the court will take various factors into account such as:

      (a) your father’s involvement in the child’s life;
      (b) the view of the child’s parents;
      (c) any risk that there might be that the application would disrupt the child’s life to an extent that they would be harmed by it
      (d) the nature of the application;
      (e) whether contact could have a negative impact on the rest of the family.

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