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What are a Grandparent’s rights to contact with their Grandchild?

Paul Walters, Mediator and Solicitor in Astle Paterson’s Divorce and Family Department discusses issues Grandparents can face following the breakdown of their child’s relationship.

Paul explained “It is unfortunate that when a relationship breaks down, it is often not only the separating couple who suffer the consequences of the breakdown.  Whilst children of the family can of course feel the effects of the breakdown, the children’s Grandparents can also find themselves suddenly denied contact with their Grandchildren.

Unlike parents, Grandparents do not have an automatic right to apply to the Court for contact with a child, but they do have options.

It is open to Grandparents to apply to the Court for permission to make an application for contact with their Grandchildren, and to thereafter pursue an Order for Contact through the Courts.

The Courts will place the best interests of the child as its primary consideration when deciding whether to make such an Order confirming that the Grandparents can have contact with the child – and the Court will usually place some reliance on a report produced by an Independent Social Worker.”

Paul continued “Court, however, should be considered a last resort, given that the costs involved in progressing the case could be substantial and that contested proceedings are likely to cause acrimony between the parties.  Further, any final Order is likely to be extremely rigid.

Therefore I believe that Mediation is an ideal forum to deal with family matters, including those relating to Grandparents’ contact with their Grandchildren.   Mediation allows parties to come to an agreement between themselves which can be flexible and tailored to the individual circumstances of the family involved.

Further, should an agreement is reached at Mediation it is more likely that an amicable relationship between the Grandparents and the parents of the children can be maintained – which can only benefit the children themselves.”

Should you be a Grandparent who wishes to have contact with their Grandchild then at Astle Paterson we have a number of experienced specialist family Solicitors as well as a Mediator who have the knowledge and know-how to assist you.

Should you wish to discuss matters further with Paul, then please contact him on either 01283 743968 or by way of email to his secretary, Helen Shipley at hshipley@astlepaterson.co.uk.

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