Grandparent Rights

Grandparents often play a significant role in the life of a child, especially when they are helping out with childcare while parents are at work or in times of crisis.

Following divorce or separation these arrangements will almost inevitably change. This can be to the detriment of the child’s relationship with their grandparents, especially if one parent has moved away or is in a new relationship.

Grandparents can frequently have a pivotal role to play if Social Services become involved with a child due to concerns about the care being given by the parents.

If the court’s view is that a child cannot remain with their parents, there is a legal requirement to consider an alternative family placement. Children are frequently placed with grandparents on either a temporary or long term basis in such proceedings.

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    What can I do if I am prevented from seeing my Grandchildren?

    There is no automatic legal right for you to see your grandchild. The first step is to talk to the parents and reassure them that you are not taking sides but seek only to maintain your relationship with your grandchildren.

    If this is not successful then you may consider seeking assistance from a Family Mediator who will try and assist to reach an agreement. We can help you find a local mediator. If this is unsuccessful we can then apply to Court on your behalf for a Child Arrangement Order (formerly Contact Order or Order for Access).

    A grandparent has no automatic right to make such an application and we would need to make an initial application for permission to apply. Unless there is an emergency or where there are issues of domestic abuse or child protection, mediation is always attempted prior to taking court action.

    The court recognises the importance of a child’s relationship with their grandparents and the possible benefits to the child of having relationships with both sides of the extended family. To be successful you will need to show that you have a significant connection with your grandchild.

    What can I do if Social Services are involved with my unborn grandchild?

    Social Services may want to become involved with a child due to the concerns about the care they are likely to receive from the parent(s). This may include concerns over domestic abuse, drug or alcohol use, mental health problems, poor home conditions, poor school attendance and parental learning difficulties. If these are significant and the parents have not responded to support then Social Services may start court proceedings with a view to determining where a child should live.

    If Social Services are considering removing a child from its parents, there is a legal requirement to consider placing the child in an alternative family placement (grandparent, aunt/uncle, cousin, older sibling etc). As a grandparent you may wish the child to be placed with you or alternatively you may agree to the child and the parent living with you so that you are in a position to supervise the care of the child.

    It is important that you ensure the social worker is aware that you wish to be assessed as a carer for the child (unborn baby) and that you (and the parents) do not delay in contacting us for advice.

    If it becomes apparent that there will be no agreement, it really is important that you contact us without delay. The earlier the issue is mediated or considered by the court the more likely the chance of success.

    We have experience of representing grandparents in care proceedings and have successfully argued against Local Authority’s plans of placing children in foster care rather than with their grandparents.

    In certain circumstances you may be eligible for legal aid.

    What our clients say

    Gill Noury is an excellent International Family Law Senior Legal Advisor. As my international child abduction case progressed in 2014 to a fortunate consent order after 5 months of intense legal battle I realized she was highly experienced and hands on. She not only provided me very good legal advice, but was also very sympathetic to my distraught situation. She was accessible all the times I needed to communicate with her or needed her personal support. She was at the same time very professional and demonstrated high integrity and human values. I found these attributes scarce in UK’s legal practitioner.

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    We run a legal surgery here at our advice and drop in centre specifically for our clients who have experienced domestic abuse. A&N have been a constant support to this surgery over the year providing an invaluable service, they have been committed to the provision of legal aid advice and pro bono clinics and as such have enhanced the service provision which we are able to offer to our clients.

    Strategic Head of Service
    Derbyshire Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Service

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    Helen was absolutely fantastic, the case was long and difficult but Helen was there for me when I needed her on the telephone and at court. She didn’t beat about the bush and gave me constructive criticism which I appreciated. My kids are now safely home with me where they belong and they love the teddies you sent for them. It was a really lovely thought, Thank you for everything.

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    Liz Newbold & Her team were great from the very first phone call to the final court date, they did nothing but help whether it was a phone call or an email they got back to you as soon as they could. They were there for support when you needed it the most and they always put there all into every court date we had. I couldn’t have asked for a better solicitors to handle my case regarding my child. It was great to finally get victory and show we were not guilty, we couldn’t have achieved what we have done today without the help of Liz Newbold and her team of highly specialised solicitors and I am forever thankful for everything they have done for me and my family.

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    I’ve been working with A&N Care Solicitors since I was in PLO. I was in an OK place, then an incident occurred in July 2014 which resulted in the local authority taking away my child in to care. She went up for adoption last year in March but I kept fighting with the help of A&N care solicitors and did all that was asked. I fell pregnant and thought I couldn’t keep it, but nope, my solicitors and I kept fighting and I’ve had my daughter return from birth home. It’s resulted in my older daughter coming home too and not being adopted. I really have to say though without the help of Natalie and Ruth from A&N Care I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would recommend these to anybody if you are fighting for your children. Thank you very much A&N you are the best family law firm I’ve ever known.

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