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Do grandparents have rights?
Most people are aware of the campaigns in the media for estranged parents to have their rights to see their children recognised and bringing this into the public eye, and this is often the most obvious consequence of relationship breakdown. What is probably less well known is the knock on effect this may have on grandparents and their relationship with their grandchildren. Even if the dispute is not with the grandparents themselves, it is often the case that any conflict between the parents leads to the grandparents not seeing the children, even where up to that point they may have been helping care for the children and playing a full role in their lives.
Unlike parents, grandparents do not have an automatic legally recognised right to apply to the Court to be able to see the children, and must first apply for permission to make that application. In most cases permission is likely to be granted, unless it is considered that the application is likely to be disruptive to the child or if there are any other concerns about the nature of the application itself, however it is an additional hurdle which parents do not need to cross.
The importance of family, and links with extended family, is something which is recognised by the Court, and a child will usually benefit greatly from having their grandparents involved in their lives. Any grandparents who feel that they have been pushed out and are unable to see their grandchildren should not feel as if there is nothing they can do about it, and should be encouraged to seek legal advice to discuss their options. A family solicitor would start by talking you through the ways to reach a resolution together. In many cases it may be enough to reassure the parent with care that you will not take sides and simply want to have a relationship with your grandchild, and an application to the Court may not be needed. If it is, however, then this is an option which can be explored.
For family legal advice on this topic or to discuss your personal circumstances please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01453 847200
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