The ending of a marriage or a relationship is a stressful event and can become even more daunting when children are involved. Ideally, children will be able to continue interacting with members of their family, especially grandparents. But what happens when grandparents are denied the right to see their grandchildren?
UK law is not very specific when it comes to visitation rights of grandparents in the event of divorce, and grandparents do not have an automatic right to visit. However, courts recognise the importance of the involvement of grandparents in a child’s life and a divorce solicitor in London, such as Saracens Solicitors, can help grandparents explore all their legal options.
Neutrality is key
While it is tempting to take sides when a divorce is happening, staying neutral is the best strategy, especially for grandparents who wish to be able to visit their grandchildren. A divorce solicitor in London will advise talking to each parent separately and express a wish to have regular contact with the grandchildren. Most parents should offer this reassurance, but in some cases, things can go wrong.
The legal way
If grandparents fail to see their grandchildren for a considerable amount of time after the divorce or if they are denied access to them, then they should speak to a divorce solicitor in London. Contact orders can only be issued by parents or guardians, however, grandparents can apply for permission to apply for a contact order. In doing so, the court will consider their application and take into account certain considerations such as:
- The relationship of the applicant with the child.
- The grounds for contact.
- Whether the application can harm the child in any way.
When all these are established, a grandparent may be granted the right to apply for a contact order. If the parent in custody (or both parents) do not agree, a full hearing will take place where both parties will testify. The court will reach a decision by taking into account the circumstances and reach a decision that is legally binding. If permission is granted, then the court will also decide the terms of the contact between a grandchild and their grandparents.