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Helping grandparents during family disputes

Many grandparents play a key role in the upbringing of their grandchildren. A difficult and often unrecognised consequence of family and relationship breakdown can be children losing or being deprived of time with their grandparents and other close relatives.

Rayden Solicitors understand the important role that grandparents and the extended family can play in the lives of children and that very often they are the first family members to be alienated as a result of disputes between a child’s parents.

There are many practical and pragmatic steps that can be taken to secure the relationship between children and grandparents during disputes but also for the longer term. Rayden Solicitors can advise on the legal procedure and remedies available to grandparents in order to re-establish contact with grandchildren and can advise grandparents who may wish to care for a grandchild on a full-time basis.

Do grandparents have legal rights in the UK?

In England and Wales, grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren and they also do not have automatic parental responsibility. It is not possible for grandparents to gain parental responsibility by applying for a Parental Responsibility Order.

However, although grandparents do not have legal rights to see their grandchildren, parents do have legal rights to choose who their children see, so try to refrain from heated arguments. If agreement cannot be reached there is provision for grandparents to make an application for an order in respect of time they spend with their grandchildren.

Can grandparents apply to the courts for access to grandchildren?

Only people with parental responsibility can apply for a court order. However, grandparents can apply for permission to apply for a Court Order to seek contact with the grandchild. It is very rare that a court would refuse the grandparents permission to make an application. At the hearing, the court will consider:

  • The grandparents’ relationship with the grandchild
  • The nature of the application
  • If contact with the grandparents would be harmful in any way to the child
  • If continuing the contact with the grandparents would impact negatively on the rest of the family

In the case of the parents raising objections, you will have to attend a full hearing with the parties providing evidence. A lawyer at Rayden Solicitors with expertise in grandparents’ legal rights will be able to help show that the grandchildren’s lives will be enriched and will benefit from grandparent contact.

If you need help with access to your grandchildren, please call us and speak to one of our experts.

Rayden Solicitors are specialist family law solicitors. Get in touch today and talk to an expert.

Rayden Solicitors is committed to equality and diversity and in doing so supports and advises all members of our community.

Che Meakins


Che has a reputation for building strong working relationships and is focused on providing excellent client care.

Che talks about Grandparents’ legal rights in this podcast

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