Do I have any rights to contact with my grandchildren?
May 21, 2015
This is a difficult situation and whilst there are no formal rights for grandparents to have contact with their grandchildren, there are things you can do to try to obtain contact.
The first is to try to informally agree on contact. This may seem obvious but setting out the reasons why you should have contact with your grandchildren may help their parents to realise how important this is for them.
If just talking about the issues does not help, you could try mediation to see if this helps but all parties need to agree to take part and therefore if the parent or parents do not want to engage in this method, there is little more you can do. Depending on your means, public funding may be available to help toward the cost of mediation.
Your final option is to go to court to ask for a court order to obtain contact. The first steps are to ask the family court for formal permission to make an application for a court order using Form C2. If the family court agrees, you can apply for a Child Arrangement Order under s 8 Children Act 1989 as amended, using form C100; or a special guardianship order, using form C1. In some circumstances, you will need to apply for both. Court fees apply. Applications for Child Arrangement Orders are now dealt with under the Child arrangements programme, where pro forma orders are used.
Before deciding to follow this route to court, you should consider the impact this will have on the family and the relationships within it.
In addition, there is the financial burden associated with making a court order. This could result in court fees of hundreds of pounds.
Jennifer will be happy to give you the help and support you need to make a decision about how to move forward.
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