Can I demand to see my grandchildren if my child divorces their spouse?
There is no automatic right for a grandparent to have access to their grandchildren. If one parent is obstructing your right to visit or talk to your grandchildren, it is always best to try and resolve the situation personally. However, if your efforts continue to be blocked, our team can advise and represent you.
We are committed to resolving these types of situations in a firm but gentle manner. This could involve firstly writing a letter, expressing your wish to have contact with your grandchildren. In these types of situations, negotiation can prove a powerful tool in getting parties to sit down and work out their differences in a respectful way.
If alternative dispute resolution methods prove unsuccessful, a grandparent may apply to the Court for a Child Arrangements Order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.
How will the Court decide if I can see my grandchildren?
The Court’s primary concern in any family proceedings is the welfare of the child. This can be difficult to come to terms with, but it is imperative to understand a court will base their decision regarding your access to your grandchildren on whether this is in their best interests.
The Court may ask the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) to prepare what is known as a Section 7 report to help in its decision. Cafcass is an independent organisation charged with looking after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. A Cafcass officer will prepare this report after meeting with both parties and the child (alone where possible and only if the child has sufficient maturity and understanding).
The key to a successful outcome in Court is to have experienced legal representation. Rakhi and her team can provide this and support you through the entire process with sensitivity and practical, intelligent advice.
How can I obtain a Special Guardianship Order?
Sometimes, due to mental health and/ or emotional issues or drug and/or alcohol addiction, a parent is unable to care for their children. In such situations, you may be able to apply for a Special Guardianship Order. This will give you Parental Responsibility, letting you make decisions regarding the day-to-day care of your grandchildren and matters such as schooling and healthcare.
Rakhi and her team can assist you with applying for a Special Guardianship Order and explain the rights and responsibilities it confers.
Can I adopt my grandchildren?
In situations involving very young children or where the parents are unable to take care of their children long-term, you may wish to adopt your grandchildren.
If you wish to adopt your grandchild, the parents will need to give their consent unless:
- they cannot be traced
- they’re incapable of giving consent, e.g. due to a mental disability
- the child would be put at risk if they weren’t adopted
Deciding to adopt is a serious decision. We can assist you with contacting support agencies to assist you with this life-changing decision.