It is a heartbreaking situation to be separated from your grandchildren, and you want to avoid it in any scenario. As a grandparent, you may be wondering whether or not in the UK whether grandparent rights are a possible solution to your problems. In simple terms, the answer could be yes or no, it all depends on whether the court agrees with you. In the UK it is the right of the children to have a fulfilling relationship with their grandparents that the law is more concerned about.
Do I have Grandparent Rights?
Grandparents do not have any automatic rights to see their grandchildren here in the UK. However, as a grandparent, you do have the right to ask the family court for permission if you are unsuccessful in agreeing to arrangements with the child’s parents. If the court permits you, you will be able to apply for court under the Children Act (1989). Once the initial application has been made, the family court will set a hearing date and invite those who have parental responsibility to attend. From there the court will review your connection to the child and their relationship to you.
What do I do if My Son is Not on the Birth Certificate?
If your son is not on the child’s birth certificate it can be extremely difficult to handle and you will be required to seek legal advice to evaluate your options. Unfortunately, your son will only have parental responsibility if they and the mother of the child were married at the time of the grandchild’s birth, or if their name is stated on the birth certificate. On the other hand, your son is entitled to apply to the court for parental responsibility at any point, which will not be denied unless he has been proven a risk to the child’s safety.
Should I Continue Contacting My Grandchildren?
Wherever possible you should try to maintain contact with your grandchild. Maintaining communication with the parents of the child and explaining you are there for both of them, will show your purpose is not to choose a side but provide support to both parties during this difficult time if the separation is due to divorce. If face to face communication is difficult, try texting, emails or calls.
If your first attempt to maintain communication fails, then you should attempt family mediation. A mediator can support both parties in reaching a resolution and mutual agreement. As a grandparent you can evaluate your case with a mediator, they will then be able to explain the mediation process and explain the different mediation options. As a final option family court is sometimes the only alternative if all other options fail. To start the process you will be required to receive permission from the court with a C100 application.
How do I Apply for Court?
Proceeding to family court should always be your last resort, it can be both mentally and emotionally draining. However, if this is your only option don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional family lawyer. At Van Eaton Solicitors, we understand how difficult and distressing these cases can be, for everyone involved. That is why 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 about grandparent rights, or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.