When a relationship breaks down, a lot of people are affected, especially when there are children involved. It can sometimes be difficult for the parents to mutually agree on arrangements regarding their children and they feel it necessary to go through the courts in order to have their voice heard and their opinions taken into account.
Some fathers or other family members lose their rights during a divorce and some are able to maintain them. During divorce, legal obligations need to be formally put in place rather than the simple mutual agreements that are expected prior to the breakdown of the relationship.
Divorce solicitors in London are able to advise you on the necessary steps that have to be taken, in order to have your voice heard formally throughout the divorce proceedings. We have noticed that the effect of a dissolving relationship between two adults has an impact on other family members as well. When children are involved, this can especially negatively impact their grandparents.
Often, grandparents suffer in the aftermath of a divorce as they cannot see their grandchildren as often as they are used to or would like. Just like a father who is unmarried to the mother of their child, grandparents can apply to the court to make contact arrangements that need to be adhered to so that they can have adequate contact with their grandchildren.
We have noticed in recent years that there has been a huge influx of such applications. We believe this is because grandparents are becoming more proactive about their understanding of family law and are making positive steps towards working with the system to gain regular access to their grandchildren, to the benefit of everyone involved.
I am a grandparent who wants more contact with my grandchild. What can I do?
Whether you are a grandparent in this situation or simply seeking some advice in order to understand the current law and how it would fit in with your personal situation, then divorce solicitors in London can provide you with a bespoke service that ranges from a simple consultation down to full support in obtaining documentation and rights to access your grandchildren on a regular basis.
For you to understand what steps we may need to take, you need to understand what we mean by ‘parental responsibility’. Parents have certain rights that are usually automatic regarding the welfare of their children. It means they can make important decisions that will affect their lives, such as whether they should receive a certain medical treatment, what school they should attend and what religion they are to follow, to name but a few.
For mothers, and fathers who are married to them, this is an automatic right. Fathers can obtain this right legally with the permission of the mother or through the court in certain circumstances such as in a separation. Grandparents can also apply to the court for parental responsibility using a divorce solicitor in London or enter into an agreement with the mother or both of the parents.
This parental responsibility allows those who have it to make applications to the courts regarding the children involved, without the need for the parents’ permission. Normally, grandparents without parental permission need to have permission from the court in order to make any sort of application.
What can we do for you?
We understand that it can be extremely frustrating for grandparents and grandchildren alike if there is not enough contact between them. It is normally in the best interest of the child to spend time with their grandparents if they have a positive relationship. Grandparents often work as intermediaries to parent and child and allow for reprieve from everyday situations whilst remaining in the family circle.
Especially during difficult times such as divorce, children and parents find that they need the loving support of grandparents more than ever. We always hope to reach an amicable agreement with the parents by helping them to realise the importance of the relationship between grandparent and child. We help clients to take the right course of action to ensure that they become more involved in the lives of their grandchildren.
It is possible for you to have reasonable contact with your grandchildren and to be more involved in the daily goings on of their lives by having a contact order in your favour. A contact order is made by the court and will determine the type of contact that can exist between you, the grandparent, and your grandchild. The contact order can contain details of when, where and how the contact should take place. As they are legally binding documents, they need to be adhered to. If they are not you have the right to have them legally enforced.
We are here to help
We are experienced in these contact proceedings and can proudly speak of our past successes to motivate you into doing something about your own personal situation. We will guide you throughout the entire process with supportive and compassionate advice.
Initially, we will engage with the parent with whom the child lives to reach an agreement for contact without the involvement of the courts. Sometimes this is successful as we attempt to express the necessity of grandchild and grandparent contact and explain the other avenues that are available to us. Should we not be able to come to some agreement, then we are able to instigate court proceedings.
We issue your application at the local county court initially. We are fully aware that this is a time sensitive issue for you and do not want many months of waiting before you can restore communication with your grandchildren. We act quickly on matters and have the correct documentation ready in order to have the process started as soon as possible.
Once it has been processed, it will be listed for a first hearing when the court will consider the issues at hand and see if a contact agreement can now be agreed upon. It may be the case that the court will wish to investigate matters further and list for another hearing to take place at a later date. If nothing can be agreed upon in these first two hearings, then there’s a chance for a final hearing.
Be aware that throughout the entire process, the interests of the children are of paramount consideration. We are here with you throughout the entire process from negotiations up until the final hearing.