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When a relationship breaks down and there are children, it sometimes becomes difficult for parents to agree on arrangements in relation to the children. This in turn can affect all family members.
Often grandparents suffer as they cannot see their grandchildren as frequently as they would wish. Like a parent , grandparents can also apply to court to make contact arrangements to see their grandchildren. Recently there has been a surge in applications made by grandparents in the family courts reflecting the fact that more and more grandparents are taking positive action to ensure that they have regular access to their grandchildren.
If you are a grandparent and you wish to have access to your grandchildren more often or you are simply seeking some advice about what your rights are, then contact our family law department for advice. We are specialists in all aspects of children proceedings, including court applications made by grandparents.
Parents have certain rights and responsibilities in relation to their children. This is known as Parental Responsibility. For mothers and some fathers, this is an automatic right. For grandparents, Parental Responsibility is not an automatic right and so you will have to make an application to the court for Parental Responsibility or enter into a Parental Responsibility agreement.
Parental Responsibility allows the person who has it to make or be consulted on important decisions regarding the children. In addition it allows those who have it to make an application at court in relation to the children, without the parent’s permission. Normally, grandparents without Parental Responsibility will require the permission of the court before making any application.
We understand that sometimes grandparents are overlooked when making contact arrangements and this can be frustrating.We belive that it is normally in the best interests of a child to have contact with and to spend time with its grandparents. Saracens Solicitors will help you take the right steps to ensure that you become more involved in your grandchildren’s lives.
Grandparents can ensure they have reasonable access to their grandchildren and become more involved in their lives by obtaining a contact order. A contact order is an order made by the court which determines the type of contact between the applicant (in this case a grandparent) and their grandchildren. A contact order can detail when, where and how contact should take place.
Once a contact order is made, detailing the arrangements for contact, it should be adhered to by all parties. If the contact order is not being followed, you can go back to court to have it legally enforced.
We can help you obtain a contact order regarding your grandchildren. We are experienced in contact proceedings and will guide you through the entire process.
Procedure for obtaining a contact order
Initially, we will attempt to negotiate with the child’s parent whom he/she lives with to try and reach some agreement on contact. Sometimes this will be successful and arrangements can be agreed. In cases like this, there will be no need to apply for a contact order. In the event that there is no agreement, we can quickly instigate court proceedings.
We will begin court proceedings by issuing your application at a local county court. We understand that you will be keen to restore contact with your grandchildren and so we will act quickly to get the matter started as soon as possible.
Once the application has been processed by the court ,it will be listed for a first hearing. At the first hearing the court will consider the issues and see if any contact arrangements can be agreed. The court may wish to investigate matters further and may list the matter for another hearing. If contact arrangements cannot be resolved at the first or later hearings, the matter will be listed for a final hearing. Throughout the court proceedings the paramount consideration will be the best interests of the children.
Saracens Solicitors will assist you from the negotiations up until the final hearing. We will contact and liaise with all the relevant parties, prepare all the necessary documents and statements for court, arrange for your representation at court and keep you updated at every step of the way.
If you are a grandparent and you would like to know more about your rights or you are not happy with the contact arrangements regarding your grandchildren, our specialist grandparents’ rights solicitors can help. Please contact us on 020 3588 3500.