When a couple divorces, tensions and matters are made excessively difficult when children are involved. Couples will decide, or argue, where the children should spend most of their time and what kind of custody the parents will receive. But what about grandparents? Sometimes, when a divorce is particularly fraught with anger and tension, one parent may not only attempt to cut off contact with the other, but with their family too. If you are a grandparent wishing for access to their grandchild, we specialise in family law in London, and can assist in obtaining a contact order.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in helping grandparents apply for contact orders to see their grandchildren, ensuring they do not lose the relationship between them. All parties should be considered during the divorce process, and extra care should be taken when children are involved. If you are looking to seek access to your grandchildren, we can help you every step of the way.
What are Grandparents Rights?
Under UK law, grandparents, unfortunately, have no rights over their grandchildren, unless they are their legal guardians. Grandparents can make applications to the court for parental responsibility, but during divorce cases, grandparents often, quite simply, want access to their grandchildren. If a parent prevents you from seeing your grandchildren, you do not have automatic rights to have access. However, there are steps you can take with the help of a qualified civil litigation solicitor.
Contact made between the child and their grandparents would have to be agreed upon by the parents of the child. If you would like to apply for a contact order, seeking expert legal advice could be your best option. If mediation or discussions with the parents have failed, obtaining a court order is the next step.
How to Obtain a Contact Order
Before obtaining a contact order, the court will consider a number of factors before agreeing to give the order. They will consider your relationship with the child, the nature of the application and whether the application will be harmful to the child in any way. Once permission has been granted, you can take the necessary steps to obtain a contact form. You must have also attempted mediation before applying to the courts.
You will need to fill out a C100 form and send it to your nearest family court. This can be completed online, but it is advised that you seek help from a family law solicitor to get the best advice. The mediator involved in your failed mediation sessions should sign the order to confirm that you attended. There is a £215 court fee, but you can receive financial help. The court will then decide what form of contact you may have with the child; this could be in person, or even in the form of letters or telephone calls. The order can also decide where the child lives and who they spend time with.
In extreme circumstances, you may be able to apply for an immediate contact order. Children in divorces will always be considered by the court first, to ensure that their wellbeing and living environment is a top priority. If the child’s safety is at risk, then the grandparents can intervene and apply for an immediate contact order. These orders are only given out in special circumstances, such as if the parents are unfit to care for the child, if they are experienced neglect or abuse, or if they have been exposed to drugs or alcohol.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors, we have years of experience in dealing with family law in London, helping grandparents obtain orders to see their grandchildren and build their case. To find out more about the areas of law we specialise in, please visit us on our website here.
How We Can Help
We understand how stressful and emotionally distressing divorce cases can be, for everyone involved. Therefore, we will handle your case with empathy and consideration, all the while working to build your case and ensure the needs of the child are fulfilled. As specialists of family law in London, we can provide expert advice concerning whether your case has merit, and we will accompany you to court if necessary.
To find out more, or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.