These days, more than ever, many grandparents spend a lot of time with their grandchildren. They play a major role in the family from babysitting, picking up from school and being the main carers during work hours. But is there such a thing as grandparents access rights if there’s a breakup in the family?
Grandparents do not have an automatic right to contact with their grandchildren if the parents break up, access can be denied. As sad as it is, separation can have an effect on your relationship with your grandchildren and contact can be denied because of a family breakdown, a feud or bereavement.
So what can you do? Do you side with your son or daughter and hope for the best when it comes to seeing your grandchildren?
Here’s some advice that may be useful to try:
- Try and remain neutral. Try not to take sides.
- Talk to the parents. Explain what you’re worried about and tell them you still want to see your grandchildren regularly.
- If the situation is difficult and talking directly is not easy then perhaps you could write down how you’re feeling and what you’re hoping for. You can say everything you need to and not let arguments or raw feelings change the direction of the conversation.
- Give the parents time and space. Family breakdowns can be extremely stressful and people deal with it differently. Separation may only be temporary.
Involving solicitors and courts
If you have tried all of the above, time has passed and nothing has changed then it may be an idea to speak to a solicitor. They could draft a letter for you stating the importance of you having contact with your grandchildren.
If you have no luck with this then it might be time to consider the courts. Grandparents do not have an automatic right to take a case to court to ask to see their grandchildren; this is for estranged parents and those with parental responsibility. A grandparent will have to apply to the court that will then consider a number of things, like the relationship between you and your grandchild. The court will then decide if, when and how you can see your grandchild as well as regulate your time with them.
You will need to talk to a solicitor who specialises in Family Law before applying for a court order. This can be expensive with no guaranteed results, so it really should be the last option.
According to The Family Law Company, family courts recognise the important role that grandparents have in their grandchildren’s lives. It is rare that a court would refuse access, unless there is evidence of abuse or violence.
Further information and help
- Grandparents Plus is a national charity that provides advice, information and support to grandparents. If you’re looking after a relative’s child, you can call the Family and Friends Advice Line on 0300 123 7015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Family Law Company – What Are Grandparents Rights?
- If you’re having trouble seeing your grandchildren and would like further information or advice then contact the FamilyPoint.cymru helpline.
If you feel you need to talk to someone about this issue or any other problems your family is having then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.